Devotional Thoughts: My Self-Reflection of Hebrews 13:1-6

Hebrews 13:1-6 says:

13 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

The writer of Hebrews names several groups we are to love, show hospitality to, and remember in prison. Today I found myself self-evaluating after reading these verses:

What stranger have I shown hospitality to?

What prisoner have I remembered?

Have I kept my marriage bed undefiled?

Am I content with what I have or do I need to work on my love of money?

And, possibly the most interesting question of all: Am I continuing brotherly love? Perhaps this idea of brotherly love is defined in the next few verses following verse 1, as the closing chapter of Hebrews? How do we let brotherly love continue? Wha is brotherly love? When I read Hebrews 13:1 in other translations it becomes clear that this love is for one another, for our brothers, implying our sisters in the same word as many languages do. We are to love one another like family. How do we do this?

We offer hospitality to strangers and in turn the angels are pleased and entertained. That’s a bit exciting. As I ponder my life experiences I think the greatest way I have provided hospitality to strangers is I became a foster parent in 2010 and fostered 17 teens; some of them were pregnant or already had a baby they brought with them into my home. It was quite an adventure!

I also welcomed a stranger into my home in early 2021. My oldest adopted daughter is from Guatemala. We received word that one of her younger biological brothers was detained at the border in Texas. He was a young child when she left Guatemala and they really didn’t know much about each other. She hadn’t been face to face with a biological family member since she arrived in the USA in 2008 or 2009; the date is unclear. She sponsored him and I left one morning to pick him up at the airport in Raleigh, NC. I didn’t even have a picture of him, but when he walked out the door, I knew for certain it was him because he looked so much like her! This young man has become a part of our family and he blesses us as much as we’ve blessed him. I ask you to pray as he has a case for asylum in August and we pray he can remain here with us. This is perhaps the best way I have entertained angels? This stranger became family very quickly and now we love him with brotherly love.

In verse 3 I think I’ve been better at helping those who have been mistreated than I have at remembering the prisoner. I have visited people I knew in jail. I’ve taken a foster teen to visit their parent in jail. I visited a student I tutored in jail. I’ve written a few people I know that have been incarcerated, but perhaps my best help to prisoners I’ve provided has been when they were released. I enjoyed leading a small group at a local men’s shelter where it was common to have someone who was just released from prison in our group. I enjoyed encouraging them and helping them find the resources they need to get on their feet and become self sufficient.

I’ve always been one to be very disturbed by incivility, the mistreatment of others. I feel called to be an advocate for the underdog, to befriend those other people ignore. It’s work for sure, but I get a lot of joy from it. I am white. I have a love for people of other colors. Equality is an important word for me. SO many injustices in our world… there’s too many to even try to name them all! I do what I can and leave the rest up to God.

Verse four hasn’t been a struggle for me. I understand it’s a struggle for many but having an affair doesn’t really even cross my mind. I’m blessed to have a husband that I trust and that trusts me. I don’t see that we’d ever be unfaithful to one another. I cannot imagine the struggle and pain unfaithfulness causes in a marriage. I’ve walked with some going through a divorce and I’ve seen the pain from the outside but I do not know this pain personally. I know I’m not immune to this and it could happen to me, certainly. I’m not better than someone who has been through a divorce, We are equal in God’s eyes. We are not to look down upon those who have suffered the pain of divorce. I’m assuming many divorced people can teach many of us lessons to strengthen our marriages. Pain and suffering can be valuable teachers.

Am I free from the love of money? Am I content with what I have? What does the love of money look like? Greed? Always wanting more and never being satisfied? At the stage of life I find myself, I see so much distress around the subject of money. We live in a culture that places value on people based on their net worth. This cultural norm drives people to chase money and then more money. Marketing tries hard to convince us we need the latest product to be cool. I’m at a place in life where I not longer have a mortgage and that has freed me up and really changed up the options I have in my life. It has me asking questions like, “Can I retire early?” “Should I just work part time and slow down a bit?” It’s nice to have options! However, I too think about if I earned more money I could have the new patio I want. I could be driving new vehicles, etc… I know in my soul that these things do not satisfy, so if there’s an action point for me after reading Hebrews 13:1 is to practice contentment with what I have on a daily basis. This can be expressing gratitude in a written list, or telling my spouse how happy I am with the things I have, I’m pretty good at managing money and I enjoy helping others get out of debt or make decisions on how to meet their goals. I’d be happy to walk with you and be your finance coach if this area is one you need to get a hold on. Click this link to connect with me:

Verses 5b-verse 6 are sweet reminders of the commitment God makes to each and every one of us. God will never leave us or forsake us. God is with the prisoner. God is with the stranger, God is our helper and we are not to fear mankind. The stranger sees God in the one who welcomes and extends hospitality. The prisoner sees the Lord through the one who visits and remembers him. We see God in each other as we continue in brotherly love. This is the beauty of the Kingdom. I am but a small part of it. I am flawed. I am human. I am equal in God’s eyes, as are all people. How have you lived out Hebrews 13:1-6?

I invite you to tell me your stories since you’ve read some of mine.

May we welcome strangers, remember prisoners, honor our marriages, live in contentment and remember God will never leave us or forsake us. God is our help so we continue in brotherly love for one another.


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