“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, NKJV)
Life is made up of relationships … with God and others!
We live in the world God has made with others that He has made. Simple thoughts … right! Not so fast! Jesus in answering one of the most significant questions of life was emphasizing the priority of God first on any list and the second to set alongside it the love of others as oneself.
Learning to properly relate ourselves with God Almighty will enable us to attain the highest possibilities of time and eternity! Learning to properly relate ourselves to people will enable us to move in the right direction, and learning to love ourselves properly will enable us to value all three.
This time of the year … images of hearts are everywhere … it’s almost as if a day is devoted to hearts … and in a way it is! Hearts represent loving, caring, sharing. Many are blessed with the receiving of beautiful and meaningful cards, the receiving of heart-shaped jewelry. Still, others receive heart-shaped balloons, pictures, candy, flowers … all conveying the same message.
Yes, love is in the air … but for some, this is just not the case!
Sometimes … life hurts! And one way of self-preservation and self-protection is found in the building of walls around our hearts.
Not to throw cold water on warm hearts … but there are some whose hearts by reason of hurt, disappointment, and heartache are just not having that warm and fuzzy feeling at this time and perhaps any other time of the year.
The result of this uncomfortable place is they will work hard to insulate themselves from a future filled with more of the same … and they end up constructing a wall … brick by disappointing brick … surrounding their heart. Question: Are you a wall builder?
Now … we’re not talking about the hardening of one’s heart which is a whole other study. But we need to be mindful of the possibility when the wall has been constructed and allowed to stand … a hardening of one’s heart can happen over time.
What we’re talking about has to do with an effort on the part of someone to ensure that what’s happened in the past … doesn’t happen again! Have you ever been to this place … if you have you know exactly what we’re talking about.
It might be a broken relationship … the death of a loved one … and in some cases the hard place of verbal, physical or emotional abuse … perhaps the betrayal of someone that had been trusted. Sadly, this list is just a start of all that can lead to walled hearts!
The fact is … more of us than anyone would care to admit have been there … and may even be there at this moment! And quite frankly, we can do everything we can to convince ourselves that it’s an ok place to be.
And so … if someone has the desire, intention and fortitude to climb over the wall of our heart … well … maybe we will let them get closer to us!
God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18, NKJV) … and we understand the establishment of a marriage between a man and a woman is being emphasized. But on another level … it emphasizes man’s need (our need) to have relationships with others.
The truth is … we really do need people … we need others … and they need us! This can be seen with having family, friends, co-workers, neighbors … and yes, brothers and sisters in Christ.
Our greatest of needs is to be in a close relationship with our God and Creator … and we must be extremely careful to guard against being aloof with Him! He is the One we can always trust to have our best interest … always! Trusting God is just like finding a soothing salve for the hurting heart!
As Jesus held out for would-be disciples to consider … there was an “abundant life” (John 10:10) to be found in following Him that is comprised of forgiveness, peace, comfort, and hope.
The wise man, Solomon states, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV) Solomon accurately understood that what you do flows from who you are. That is why it is necessary to guard your heart and take care when hurt not to just lay brick after brick, building a wall that secludes.
May we remember there is a very real difference between “guarding our heart” and ‘building up walls around our heart.’
Jesus is the only perfect example of how to live in every way … including how to keep a good heart … even in the face of disappointment, heartache, and even betrayal. It is ours to have this marvelous, challenging, and rewarding responsibility to “imitate Him.”
Jesus truly understands the injured and bruised heart. Oh, what a Savior we have in Him! This is exactly what the writer of Hebrews directs in Hebrews 12:3, “Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
One other thought to consider is that trusting others takes time that words alone will not accomplish. It can be and often is a slow process … but a process that can free the imprisoned heart!
And if you know of someone who has built some sort of a wall around their heart … then also “imitate Christ” and be patient, kind, loving, and supportive of them … help them to trust again! You’ll be glad you did … and hopefully, they will be too!
“If you build a wall around your heart … be sure to leave a window just in case you want to let love in.” Unknown
Oh how deeply God our Father and Jesus His Son love you!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.