"You find yourself picking those slights and slanders up one by one with your hand and stacking them like firebricks around your heart. With one brick you say, 'This will teach me not to open up to friends.' And then with another you say, 'Lonely is better than looking like a loser.'"
Haven't we all been there? I know I have. It happens in teaching situations and in our lives outside our jobs. It even happens in churches.
Kristen's answer to the urge to build up a firewall to protect our hearts is forgiveness.
In a recent situation, I felt hurt by something another woman said to me. My natural inclination was to protect myself, to defend, to defy, to prove. But I believe fundamentally that Christ-likeness demands a humbler response. It demands a heart that forgives. Right now, I'm still in a conversation with God about it all. "Help me forgive," I'm praying. "Help me lay aside pride so that I can be an example of the believer in Jesus. Help me be a channel for your spirit to work healing on both sides."
Dear Lord, work in our hearts and keep them tender to your leading. Don't let us build walls around our hearts to protect ourselves, but let us remain open to loving and forgiving as you have loved and forgiven us. Amen.
For further reading:
Coming tomorrow, Amy Ballard guest blogs on Carry Fancett Pagels's blog; she'll give away a free copy of her poetry chapbook, Landlocked.
Find Amy's poem "A Feather" on p. 18 of the newly-released Winter Poetry Issue of GNU Journal