Hearts aren’t toys!
This sounds obvious, I know, but when we’re dating or trying to date someone, we often forget. I once knew a guy who was in love. The one thing he and his girlfriend shared was that they were both madly in love with her. As he sacrificed his will and wishes she openly accepted all he had to give. His money. His gifts. His time and attention. She gave none in return. Frequently he told his friends how wonderful, nice, gentle and loving she was when they were together, but in public all his friends saw was her demeaning him, mocking him, and rejecting all forms of displayed affection.
Slowly it broke him.
After a while – and with the encouragement of friends – he broke up with her, but his heart had already been exposed to enough venom that it took a long time for him to recover. He was unable to trust other young women. He became distant. He came to believe all the worst of what she had said about him. His biggest problem was that he allowed this girlfriend to treat his heart like a toy, a plaything.
Proverbs 4:23 teaches us this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
All of your life bubbles up and spills over from your heart. It’s more important than you think. Therefore, you must guard it from people who – purposefully or not – would hurt, harm or break it.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Don’t Pray Before You’re Ready. I went to a Christian college and often girls would come back from first dates awed and overjoyed that their date wanted to pray together before the date. There are at least 2 reasons why that’s a bad idea: (1) A lot of jerks knew that praying with girls would impress and disarm them. It was openly talked about in the dorms. These guys weren’t interested in praying. They were interested in preying. A young disarmed girl makes for easy work for a guy who wants things to “go a little farther,” or thinks “anything but intercourse is okay.” Dont’t put yourself in that position. (2) Prayer is an intimate act. Of course we all have “meal prayers” and “church prayers” that aren’t all that intimate, but when two people go before God together it unleashes a closeness you need to be aware of. Prayer, at it’s best, is naked emotion before God. Who else do you want to bring into that moment? And how soon?
- Listen Ruthlessly. Jesus says that the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. If you’re dating (or wanting to date) someone who belittles you, mocks you, or makes fun of you, he or she is treating your heart like a trinket. They don’t care about your feelings and they don’t really care about you. You should also listen to how they speak about others. If you’re with someone who has trouble honoring the image of God in others, how long until they dishonor the same image in you? Is this someone you want to spend your life with? Are these the kind of words you want to listen to? The kind of words you want your kids to hear?
- Can They Shut Up? I’ve known a few people in my life who absolutely could not shut up! They tell everything they know. I’ve even known people who gossiped about their own children. Because they can’t keep quiet, the relational wake of their lives is turmoil, destruction, upset and upheaval. Why is this so deadly? They can’t be trusted. And you don’t want to find yourself locked-in for life with someone who cannot keep confidences. Where will you go to give voice to your thoughts, hurts, hesitations, ambitions, dysfunctions, glory and imperfections? You can’t make a real covenant with someone who is insensitive to your needs and the nurturing of your heart. Here’s a clue: If they are gossiping to you, they are gossiping about you.
Your heart is too great a treasure to release into the hands of the careless. The moment you notice that the person you’re with doesn’t give the same care and concern to your heart that you do is the moment you’ll know to find another.