How long are you supposed to leave it until you trust someone enough that you start revealing your true self to them? How do you know that this person won’t hurt you or use what you have told them against you? How do you know that this person will not abandon you when you need them most?
To be honest…..I don’t know
The above picture perfectly illustrates the fragility of the heart and how a person can be so protective over it that in order to gain access, you must first earn the key entangled amongst vessels that extend from it. Only by going through life can you know who to let in. It definitely helps to be a good judge of character but most of the time you rely on the wisdom that you’ve gained from observing other people and your previous mistakes to know who to let in. But the sad truth is, it doesn’t matter how careful you are, there will always be a time when someone takes advantage of the weakness that you have revealed to them. It may hurt, but pain is something that yields peaceable fruits of righteousness (Hebrew 12:11). You learn to be patient and get a further understanding of the human nature. You begin to realise that anyone can make mistakes and it is also a test of how easy you can forgive others too. That however doesn’t stop you from suddenly shrivelling up and closing off yourself from anyone new that comes into your life. It makes it even more difficult for anyone to penetrate the exterior let alone the interior. Of course you should guard your heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) or you may end up giving what is Holy to people who will trample and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6). Wisdom is definitely an important thing to have when dealing with issues that you have no control over. There’s no need to worry though if you lack that because God will give it to you freely if you just ask Him (James 1:5). Even though sometimes we love to hold on to bitterness and the hurt that someone else has left in us, it is unhealthy because such a burden will manifest in such a way that you begin to push people around you away (Proverbs 4:23). People who God may have placed in your life to bless you beyond what you have experienced. It is better to let go of something that will prevent you from moving on and growing than to hold on to something that will forever hold you back. We are encouraged to live in peace and if we are to allow the fruits of the Spirit to manifest (Galatians 5:22-23) and not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), we must let go of those things that hold us back.
In my opinion, it takes a combination of time, testing and a good judge of character to know whether to open up and reveal your true self to someone. Let me just clarify what I mean by “true self”. I mean trusting that someone will accept you for who you are, all of you, including where you have come from, where you are now and appreciating that you are on a journey that will help you clean up the mess that may be in you….in other words, a person who will not judge you. Even when you come to that point, you are still taking a risk, but the risk is worth it if you feel that this person will bless you more than curse you.
Hebrew 12:11-Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it
Proverbs 4:23-Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life
Matthew 7:6-Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces
James 1:5- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him
Galatians 5:19-21-Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:22-23-But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
[featured image: Teresa Sharpe]