Being a guest blogger on someone else’s space inspired me to think about what it means to be a “guest.”
AS A GUEST
Are there obligations? Yes. For example, being sensitive with wording and subject matter. I know the general opinions and sensitivities of my host. So, I have an obligation to be circumspect (there’s a word you don’t often hear, but should). If I want to say something using lewd or rude language…maybe I should start my own blog rather than offend my host. A guest should be polite. Besides, this is NOT Twitter or some other social media site (where being rude is often standard fare).
Are there special privileges? No. Being allowed to post IS the privilege and that privilege can be revoked. I always look at the roles reversed. Would this behavior offend me if one of my guests did it?
Some guests do not understand the concept. I have been to a few events where a guest became drunk or gave an off-color toast. Seriously, dude! Go away! A cash bar does not give you license to lose your head. Some wedding receptions need bouncers. Or, better yet, if the happy couple has idiot friends who think this would be a fine opportunity to display their true character, they should not invite them. The other guests will thank them.
Some guests do not understand that the privilege of being invited does not make it about THEM. Guests should avoid being selfish or demanding. For example: Your “special diet” is not your host’s problem unless it is medically prescribed or culturally required (e.g., some cultures may find pork taboo). Even then, you should talk with the host long before the event to see if you can bring your own food. Your host has no obligation to change the menu just for you. If it is not for a medical or cultural reason, shut up and eat what is placed before you. If you cannot do that for your host, then decline the invitation. Further, your host does not want to hear “Why everyone should be Vegan” while serving a traditional “meat and potatoes” dinner.
I am saddened by how many people today have failed to learn proper guest etiquette. There are scads of articles about being a good guest. If you are unfamiliar with what to do, read a few before the next party or event. Simple things go a long way, like cleaning up your own mess or avoiding “hot topic” discussions. The host is very busy so give him or her or them some space. In my opinion: The host is more important than the guests. If you want things YOUR way then YOU be the host.
The rules of the home you are visiting are YOUR rules, too. If the house rule is NO SMOKING, then that rule applies to guests even if the inviters know that a guest smokes. If they wish to permit you an exception they will inform you. At my house there are several house rules. One is “no loud anything after 11pm.” If you are a guest and you violate that rule (and why would any guest think that loud music should be played after 11pm?) we may have a “talk” at 11:05pm. My house, my rules. I would not throw food at your house, why should you throw food at mine? Some rules are sensible and easy to follow. Guests should be thoughtful.
We have a small older dog which cannot go to a kennel; it has too many needs. One, she has to go out in the middle of the night or she may have an accident. Therefore, we have turned down invitations to stay at relatives’ homes because we do not want them to have to put up with her yips (in the middle of the night), lights on and doors opening, and the possibility of an accident on a carpeted surface. It is a small price to stay at a nearby hotel to avoid making our hosts put up with all that.
Other house rules need to be explained before you come. They may be particular to that family. Like, “Do not bring anything with peanut ingredients,” since someone in the household has a peanut allergy. Or, “Do not wear perfume.” In those cases, it would be not only rude and offensive, but life-threatening to the owner.
OUR COUNTRY, OUR RULES
I hesitate to bring up the next, but it definitely fits…the very same expectations apply. One would not desire a guest to break into his home just because they are friends. Why should we expect anything different when it comes to our national property? Ask permission to enter. Follow the laws of the land (they are not complicated, I assure you). Immigration visas can take 5 years from date of application, (mostly because some home countries are slow about producing documents) but relatively few have to wait that long if their information is correct and they follow proper procedures. The process is not there to keep good people out. It is there to keep out criminals, the uneducated (cannot read or write their own language, let alone English), and mentally ill. We could do with fewer.
America is a generous country, taking in hundreds of thousands of foreigners legally every year. Quoting from Homeland Security website: “228,000 noncitizens obtained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in the first quarter (Q1) of Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.” That is more than the entire population of Richmond, Virginia. Obviously America is still considered the greatest nation on the planet by those seeking to enter legally. Those foreigners have had criminal background checks, are mentally and physically fit, and have valuable skills. They even have their immunization records.
What about those who cheat? Why would we welcome those who feel free to just hop the fence or break in? Are they disease carriers? Are they criminals? Are they terrorists? Are they human traffickers? Are they dangerous drug runners carrying 9mm weapons? More than a few are. We know this is true because a careful reading of official reports shows that border patrol agents have caught many of these. Obviously, we would not permit those people to immigrate legally. Others just want a shortcut around the immigration system.
Some reading this may get “all political” about it. Don’t. I’m not coming from a political viewpoint, but a VERY PRACTICAL one: Guests should not barge in uninvited. America, as hard as it is to fathom, does not have an endless supply of resources. As a host it is our responsibility to care for our invited guests first. I could go on, but that would invite politics into the discussion, instead of clarity.
Enter at the gate. Over 2000 years ago it was common knowledge that entering an area by any means other than the gate was not appropriate. As Jesus said in John 10:1, “…anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” 2000 years of common sense is very compelling.
In conclusion, 1. A guest is someone who is invited. 2. A guest has responsibilities. A guest should honor the host by not abusing the event, by following the house rules, and not being rude to the host or other guests. 3. The guest is less important than the host. In fact, a guest should remember that they are only there only at the pleasure of the host. A gracious host will do everything possible to make the guest’s experience enjoyable, but the guest has the greater responsibility to the host.
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