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“Selfish” House Guest?
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Once, a family member came for a two-week visit, but ended up staying four months. Excitedly we welcomed him, but the novelty soon wore off.

As weeks stretched into months, I felt taken advantage of. Various family members advised me, “Don’t allow him to stay any longer.” They thought him selfish for overstaying his welcome and taking advantage of me. Since he was a new Christian, I defended him. During this time, I longed to show him the meaning of Jesus’ words in Acts 20 “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Growing up, my house guest and I had both loved instruments and music; because he was my favorite relative, I wanted to be like him. Now his behavior was changing my feelings towards him.
He was a high maintenance person; my wife and I felt we had inherited another child. With our own children too young to help, we felt frustrated with the added responsibilities.

Brushed Him Off

I had a chore routine and did most everything without any assistance—especially when it came to maintaining our large lawn. When he offered help, the independent person in me found no value in it. I became bothered and brushed him off. He didn’t even know how to do yard work and taking time to stop and teach him slowed me.  

He ate, slept, and demanded our time, food, and utilities and because his long stay further burdened our tight finances, I was often annoyed.

However, after awhile, things started to change. It dawned on me, I am the selfish one. I had overlooked the first part of Acts 20:35, which says, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak...” I realized he simply wanted to know what to do next in his Christian journey, yet I was offering no help. Though he exhibited character flaws, I displayed far worse; selfishness and judgment. I needed to be the one laboring and giving, not him.

Finally, I allowed him to help me with the chores. My relative’s character reflected a changed man, a new person willing to learn to do the necessary chores, even physical work, which he had avoided previously. I had expected my relative to instantly be “perfect” because he became a Christian. I had expected a baby (my relative) to walk overnight.

 The seemingly selfish house guest showed me the true selfish person. Me!

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By Daniel LaFlair. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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