There are a few ways to phrase this side of it, and I don’t want to confuse anyone so I think it’s best to make sure I am clear on what I mean. Yes, we did just take down walls which were harmful in our lives. But now, now we need to build walls which are protective as the walls of a city. When Nehemiah heard the walls were not in place his heart broke because he knew how dangerous it was for the people. When he went to begin to build the walls there were many who were upset and tried to thwart the efforts of the people because they knew what the wall would mean. When the walls of the city were up they had control over that area, the people could live in safety, and the enemies could be kept out.
The walls of the city had gates where the people could enter and leave, and they could close those gates at night or any other unsafe time. They could control when strangers had access to the city. They interacted with others, but on their own terms.
These are the walls we are building. We need to set boundaries in place so that we can interact with people with an open heart, but we can close the gate if we need to. One thing I love about Nehemiah and the wall: once the gates were set in place he determined them to be closed between sundown and sunup. Not because there was an immediate threat, but because he knew and understood the danger of that time of day.
As we learn more about setting up walls of protection we will see that each is different because our interaction with people is different. When someone upsets us we don’t simply turn and walk away and build another isolation wall; rather we work through it. We may close a gate, but we keep the possibility of the gate re-opening.
The difference between walls which hurt and walls which protect, in my mind, is that walls which hurt have a selfish goal of trying to protect ourselves only. We have learned this doesn’t actually work. Walls which protect, however, work to protect not only us but the others as well. We will stop fighting for “OURSELVES” and start fighting for the relationship, the other person, and for ourselves.
It’s a different mindset, living with the gates, allowing people back in, working to stay open hearted. It allows us to love again.
The list of all the posts for this series can be found in the Table of Contents.