“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Have you ever said to yourself, “They hurt me once, but they’ll never hurt me again?” Victims of robbery sometimes protect themselves by purchasing an alarm system or putting iron bars on their windows. When someone hurts us as a Christian, we often protect ourselves by removing people from our lives and ending all communication with them. However, the point Jesus was making when He told us to turn the other cheek was that if someone hurts you once, you are to forgive them and give them another chance knowing you could possibly get hurt again. To that, many of us say “God you don’t know how much emotional pain they caused me! I will forgive them, but I am removing them from my life! They will never hurt me again!” We try to guard our hearts by locking others out and imprisoning ourselves in the process. God never intended for us to live in fear of being hurt, but in faith in Him. As long as we live in a fallen world, we will experience hurt. The only way to avoid being hurt is to go and live alone on a secluded island, but even there you may get offended at the scorpion that hurts you. Only God can help you guard your heart without locking people out of it. God designed our bodies in such a way to where our hearts are guarded with a rib cage. God protects the vital organ of our bodies and He helps protect the core of our being. He helps us by leading us into all truth. The truth is we all have missed the mark, have longed for forgiveness, and have been given chance after chance by God. The same love and mercy that He shows us daily, He expects us to show it to others. It is a choice. In lowliness of mind, we are to put on love, meekness and be longsuffering and forbearing, which is to put up with others. In the process, God will build character in us, rather than us trying to build a protective wall around ourselves.
Prayer: Father, I am hurting. It is scary to open myself up again to possibly being hurt, but I receive Your grace and strength to forgive and not lock this person out of my life. Show me how to be longsuffering and forbearing. Help me Lord to change. I choose to trust You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(Read: Matthew 5:39; Ephesians 4:2)
Note: This devotional is not intended to imply that you remain in the house with an abusive spouse. If you are in a physically abusive marriage, please seek help immediately.