I learned long ago the value of building forts around my heart. A couple of times I let my guard down and my heart was broken. Fearing I would be duped again, I created an elaborate defense system and relocated my heart to a fallout shelter deep inside a remote cave.
The choice to come out of your barricade leaves your heart vulnerable and exposed. There's also a high price to pay should you choose to keep your heart incarcerated. Which is better, lock up your heart or risk rejection?
I find my answer in Jesus. He knew His Father was calling Him to the battlefield filled with dangerous landmines, some of them planted by His own friends. He knew He would become a casualty. He faced public humiliation, torture and death. This was not His choice. He did it anyway.
Ever wonder how Jesus, the Son of God, could be so unlucky picking His closest followers? Here He is with twelve men, healing the sick, turning water into wine, and raising people from the dead. What are his disciples doing while Jesus is busy working miracles? You wouldn't expect Jesus to end up heartbroken from his closest friends, yet they doubted Him, denied Him and even betrayed Him.
Jesus knew their hearts and He still chose to become vulnerable. I believe He did this for us, to show us how to behave when those closest to us turn away from us. My deepest wounds come from those in my inner circle. I would rather be outside the cave, risking a broken heart, than be in captivity. This is not easy. The only way to avoid a broken heart is to hide from people and I believe that is too high a price to pay. The world needs individuals willing to risk rejection so their open hearts can shine brightly. The best way to be an example is to forgive those who break your heart. Become vulnerable and remember to let go of grudges when others hurt you. In the long run, your relationships will be more meaningful if the people you love realize you are willing to wipe the slate clean and forgive them for the times they hurt you.