Once upon a time there was a little green man. Actually green has no bearing on our story. He could just as well have been purple. But, he was green.
Our green buddy made friends with everyone around him and every one commented on what a fine fellow their avocado-colored neighbor was. Until one day …
Yes, one day someone did something horrible to our green friend and it took him a long time to get over it. I’ll spare you the details because it wasn’t pretty. Eventually he healed, or seemed to anyway. Somehow he wasn’t the same–more distant, smiled less, and stayed to himself.
Then the neighbors noticed. They went to bed one evening and woke up the next morning to see a wall big enough to enclose one person and high enough to keep anyone from climbing over.
One of his neighbors came over to drink coffee but found only a small air-hole in the impenetrable wall. “Hey, friend, can I come in?” he yelled. Two eyes appeared behind the little hole.
“What do you want?” Mr. Green challenged.
“Just thought I’d drop by and have a cup of coffee with you. You know like we used to do.”
“Wait there!” our green friend commanded.
In a few minutes he was back and a hand bearing a coffee cup passed through the hole. “Here’s your coffee.”
The visitor took it hesitantly. “You know, it wasn’t really the coffee I was after,” he said tentatively sipping the hot brew. “I just wanted to spend some time with you.”
“You can stand there as long as you want,” the barricaded man said.
“You’re not going to let me in?” his old friend asked, because this neighbor was actually one of his oldest acquaintances.
“Listen,” the little green man said. “I lived once without a wall around me. You saw how I was hurt. I’m not taking a chance on that happening again. Just stay there and we’ll talk.”
But, it wasn’t the same. You can’t talk when there is a wall between you, so his friend made small talk for a while then wandered back to his place. His visits came less and less often.
So it went. People would beat on the wall, yell at the air hole and do all sorts of things to try to communicate with the little fellow but they finally got tired of trying and he saw few people, except those who delivered his food and water.
One day, he thought he would go out for just a minute to get some sunshine and some human contact. Only problem was, he had done his job too well. He couldn’t get out. His wall to keep others out had become a prison. He couldn’t leave.
So, he didn’t live happily ever after.
Is Your Wall a Prison?
It’s like that when we build a wall around our heart. People can’t get in to hurt us anymore. But, they can’t get in to us to hug us either, or speak to us heart- to- heart. Walls quickly become prisons.
“David,” you wail. (I like that phrase don’t I? How many times have I said, “David, you whine…”?). “If I tear down my wall someone might hurt me.”
You can take away the “might” if you want to. It’s probably certain that you’ll be hurt sooner or later. That’s the price we pay for keeping the door open. But, my experience is that people will come to you to love you 25 times more often than they come to hurt you.
And when you get hurt, the Lord can come to heal you. ‘Walls down, door open’ lets Jesus restore your heart and make you a healing to others.
Jesus sent a message to a church that seems to have slammed the door to keep Him out, “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. ” (Rev. 3:20 The Message)
In this case the door wasn’t shut because of hurt. They had shut it in Jesus’ face because His presence was inconvenient. I think the promise is the same if the wall is there because of hurt or whatever—get up, open the door and the Lord will come in and eat with you.
In the Eastern culture where this text was written, eating with someone was a form of closeness, intimacy, friendship. Walls and locked doors around our hearts shut out intimacy.
Some of us reading this need to get some Spirit-dynamite and blow away those barriers that are keeping others out.
It’s worth the risk.
Colin Smith, image:Flickr: creative commons
Henry Ford, one of the first men to mass-produce automobiles: “If I had asked people what they wanted, I would have built a faster horse.”
Worth Thinking About—
1. Your shoes are the first thing people subconsciously notice about you. Wear nice shoes.
2. If you sit for more than 11 hours a day, there’s a 50% chance you’ll die within the next 3 years
3. There are at least 6 people in the world who look exactly like you. There’s a 9% chance that you’ll meet one of them in your lifetime. (Internet)