I grew up hearing that scripture. I’ve heard different interruptions on it including don’t defile the temple where God lives. This meant don’t drink alcohol, smoke, and in some cultures and religions, don’t eat meat or pork. While I respect everyone’s interpretation and beliefs, I interrupt it and apply it to my life differently.
I believe guarding your heart means don’t expose it to toxic people. We must protect ourselves by not allowing those with bad intentions and toxic traits to hurt our hearts. Once we are aware that someone is toxic or they have bad intentions, it is up to us to protect our hearts.
It’s as simple as locking your door so the thief doesn’t come in and steal from you. Even the birds of the air and animals in the wild are born with the instinct to protect themselves. If you’ve ever witnessed an abused animal then you know they are timid and unsure if they can trust you. They are essentially protecting themselves.
We have the same instinct and the right to protect our hearts. Once someone has proven time and time again that they will crush your heart, we must protect it and put a guard dog at the gate. I have a saying, “the first time you hurt me, shame on you, the second time, shame on me.” Maya Angelou said it best.
WHEN PEOPLE SHOW YOU WHO THEY ARE, BELIEVE THEM THE FIRST TIME.
Now here is the most challenging part, they are blood. I understand that more than I have shared. Let me say that some of the most poisonous and toxic folks are people you did not choose and they did not choose you.
Family is not just what you are born into. They are those who come to us in times of dire straits, they are the ones checking on us when we are silent and can only communicate in tears. they understand that the past does not exist and yesterday is only a memory. Holding on and ruminating on things that are done cannot repair the damage. We’ve got to let go of that painful memory, forgive and move forward.
“Forgiveness is about empowering yourself,
rather than empowering your past.”
– T. D. Jakes
We can forgive and love each other by not continuing to bring up a painful past. I believe we can love each other while guarding our hearts. As one shrink told me, “remember just because a lion is a cat does not mean you can allow them to get close to you. Don’t forget they will eat you alive if you allow them to get close enough.“ Above all else guard your heart!