I grew up in a great family, but my folks got divorced when I was in 4th grade. I, like many kids from broken homes, was caught in the middle of the mess. I remember my mom confiding in me as a 10-year-old and saying, “I’ll never be hurt again.” She was talking about relationships and at that time in my young life, I didn’t understand the weight of what she was saying. She began building a huge wall around her heart thinking she was protecting herself. Now as an adult, I know that walls like that not only kept people from hurting her, it kept her from loving others. Relational pain changes us.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
The more you and I build walls of protection in our lives, the less and less authentic we become.
Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 6:11, “We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open.” He’s saying he has written that his heart, and the heart of his fellow workers for Christ, is wide open to the Corinthians. Be careful not to so protect your heart from pain that you stop loving altogether. It will change into something you don’t like.