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Sometimes people hurt you. Sometimes people use you. Sometimes your heart gets broken. This is a risk. If we ever want to love others, we have to be open to the possibility of pain, but we also owe ourselves to count this cost. This is a risk, but what great joy there is in loving people! In wisdom, we have to remember that not every relationship is worth the price required to keep it. 

That is truth, but here is bigger truth: we CANNOT let this keep us from loving. So often we let this hurt jade our hearts and limit our generousity in kindness. Here is the challenge:

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

How do we do this? How do we love generously with a guarded heart? I do not want to be that person who is pessimistic and does not want to let my heart that runs over with love for others pretty instantaneously be muted by the dishonest, selfish actions of others. I do not want to expose my heart to that kind of person and have the flow from my heart after be a lesser version of what it was created to be – what I was created to be. 

I think that is the first key. We should not expose our hearts to others in a really personal way easily. I think that is part of the wisdom in guarding. Having privacy is different than secrecy, and once we have discerned that a relationship or friendship is worth the risk, we leap in wisdom trusting God above all else. Even when we get hurt in the fall, He is sure to pick us up, heal our wounds, and send us out to keep loving like He does. He paid the cost of His Son to love me. Shouldn’t I be willing to pay the cost of hurt feelings and tears spilled to share that with the world?

Inside that wisdom, I think we find boundaries. If you find yourself used and hurt by someone, limiting their access to do it again is wise. That does not mean unforgiveness or ill will. Pray for them. That might be the best way to love them while following the Proverb breathed by God. You do not have to trust them with the exposure of your heart again, but you should love them in the healthiest way you can. 

Let us not let others diminish our light or shine because of who they are in their hearts. Let us keep living wisely and serve God in the fullness of forgiveness and mercy. I choose not to let that change the me I have fought hard to be, and I would challenge you not to either. 

The sun will set on the hurt someday, and we should not let anyone or anything steal our joy, our kindness, or heart’s real purpose.