Walls. We have them. We experience them.
Walls exist to protect. They are built to fortify against enemies, known and unknown. They’ve protected nations, and they’ve protected facilities. And then, they’ve protected us…
From hurt. We think.
You know the phrase, “once bitten, twice shy?” I often think about it as “many times bitten, a thousand times shy.” It seems to represent my experience better. That is, the fact that we get hurt over and over and then we don’t want to anymore.
So we build walls. To protect us from hurt.
I like to see the good in people. I like to see the potential, and the possibilities. I like this trait of mine; I think it’s a good thing. But sometimes, I haven’t known when to see things as they are, and people as they are. I believe there’s a time and situation for both, and wisdom is in knowing when.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NKJV) I believe this verse is saying love is not blind. In love, you can ‘abhor’ what is evil, and yet cling to what is good. Love doesn’t say that what is bad is actually good. Love is honest. And again as the Bible says, we can “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
There’s a time to see the good in people, and love them as God loves us. There’s also the time to acknowledge that someone is in the wrong, and still love them. Acknowledging the truth can give way to forgiveness and healing. Holding on to a sliver of hope, and trying to make that hope reality, can set us up for a lot of hurt. “Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NCV) Again, don’t hold on to wishful thinking about a situation or person, but acknowledge when something is wrong.
We build walls because we are afraid. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18) Love casts out fear, which removes our need to build walls. It gives us courage to “hate what is evil” but “cling to what is good”.
Walls are great for facilities but not for our hearts. We can build picket fences around our hearts rather than walls. They’re cuter, and they don’t shut you away from people. We need boundaries around our hearts because our hearts are precious, but if we build walls, we get stuck inside ourselves. We get stuck in fear and we can’t go anywhere.
If there are people that have hurt us, we can abhor the wrong and yet cling to what is good. We can love them because love sets us free from fear. Love sets us free from fear, and the need to build walls.
This post is not about setting boundaries-we can really get into that in another post; this post is about choosing love and freedom over walls and fear. And I hope it encourages you and challenges you to choose a different perspective in dealing with your hurts. You’re not alone. 🙂