We are the gate keepers of our lives. We have to choose, and with care, who we let enter and who we let leave our lives. It is crucial to our existence, our happiness, and our survival that we exercise this very important form of autonomy in our dealings with other human beings. So how do we choose? How do we know who we let in, who we let out, and who we let back in after they have left or been let out? It’s an incredibly difficult task. In fact, a lot of the choices we make will involve taking chances. We take chances with money, investments, thrills, what car we buy, whether or not we put on our seat belt when we get in the car etc. But taking a chance on a person, on a human being, is probably the most dangerous of chances we will ever take in our lifetimes.
I have evolved to imagine being the gatekeeper of my life similar to that of Jesus standing at the gates of heaven on judgment day. When we reach the gates of heaven, the Lord will look upon us and us upon Him, and he will be able to see the purity of our hearts. As all of us are unquestionably sinners, He will look into us and know if our repentance is true and honest, and He will know if we earnestly tried to live by His word. If we are pure at heart, we will enter those gates. If by some chance we are intrinsically evil, maybe we will not enter those gates. We are the gate keepers of our lives and similar to how the Lord tests our sincerity, we too must test the sincerity of others, the goodness of those we choose to allow to enter our lives. We must also able to recognize the evil ones and be able to turn those rotten ones away. When someone wants to leave we either let them leave if we know they don’t belong, or stop them if we believe they do. Of course, in some cases, we have to give some people the boot, because some people just don’t belong. The problem is we don’t have that same power that God has. We can’t look into every person and know their heart. As DeMarco sing’s “You can see a man’s face, but you can’t see his heart…” It’s true indeed. Humans are deceitful and we can be fooled.
We have to accept that chances are dangerous, and we have to accept that we may get hurt in some way shape or form. We also must accept that this is part of life, and it will happen to all of us. If we spend an eternity sitting around asking mind boggling questions like…”How could she do that to me when we were such close friends?” Or “How could he be a bad person when we connect so well and he’s so caring when we are together?” Or “How could she have lied on me when she swore she was my best friend?”…we will be wasting an incredible amount of time and energy. Not everyone is a good person, or not everyone is a good person as you. This has been one of the most difficult things I have had to accept in life. I used to think that people would always give me back what I gave. I’ve spent countless energy trying to be a good friend, trying to be a great girlfriend, trying to be a good family member hoping people in those life domains would match the goodness I dished out. I have been burnt in all of those domains. Sometimes I think about the things humans have done to hurt each other and I say “I would NEVER do that to anyone. I would NEVER hurt anyone like that. I would NEVER take advantage of anyone like that. I would NEVER treat anyone that way.”
Sometimes it boggles my mind that way that we treat one another, the way we walk over each others feelings, especially while being totally aware of exactly what we are doing. Maybe not necessarily doing it maliciously, but doing it passively because we get some benefit out of exploiting that other person. We often wrongfully believe the passive removes the malicious from the equation. Human beings are selfish. Men exploit women all the time in this manner and visa verse. For example, a man may incredibly enjoy the love a woman showers him in, he may bathe in it and swim in it for days feelings great. He may even love the woman in return. Yet he is not honest with her, he won’t commit to her, but he can’t let go of what she provides him with. He knows how she feels about him and he knows he will never give her what she wants, but he stays around, partially because he cares for her, but mostly because he enjoys what she gives him and how she loves him. He’s passive.
Passively. Yes. A lot of people do things passively. It’s sort of like sinning and thinking God wont see you because you are not actively sinning. What we fail to realize is passively sinning IS actively sinning. Who was it that said that the man who remains silent is just as responsible as the man who does nothing at all? It’s a very wise and true statement. Here is an example. A married man goes to a party at a friend’s house. A woman follows him into the bathroom and comes onto him sexually. He enjoys a sexual favor from her, but does not touch her or provide any sexual favors in return. He was completely passive in the interaction. Is he an adulterer? YES! By being passive, he was actively sinning. We have to be aware of passive people in our lives. More likely they not they are not worth keeping around. So if someone is doing something to passively hurt you….a friend is passively sharing all your personal business with your boss in casual conversation…or your girlfriend is passively engaging in overtly flirtatious encounters with a co-worker……consider giving them the boot. We SHOULD get what we give in return. Don’t expect it, because you won’t always get it, but when you aren’t getting it, it’s totally okay to shove someone out of your gate. Tell them I said so. Or if you want I can remove them for you! LOL
So when we let someone in our life and we have to kick them out, what do we do when they want to come back in? Do we let them in? How do we know if we should let them back in? A saint is just a sinner who fell down, and got up right? Yes, it is quite possible for people to change. I have seen it happen before my own eyes. God will ALWAYS receive us if we receive Him, no matter what we have done. So yes, sometimes there are people who we will let back into our lives. Again, chances. It will involve taking a chance. Nevertheless, it is also okay not to let someone back in your life. Ever hear this saying: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I heard it all the time growing up. It’s true. Except, sometimes for a lot of us I’d say the third time is the shame on us. We are human and most humans give second chances. If someone has hurt you twice, I’d recommend you keep the gates closed for good. Nonetheless, if we decide not to let someone back within in those gates, it doesn’t mean we can’t communicate with them from behind our gate. Don’t get my wrong. There are those people who will get kicked out the gate with a big boot, yet there are also those people who you may still care about or love, but you know you just cant take the chance of them being in your life, behind your gate anyway. What kind of Christians would we all be if we never tried to encourage others to seek the word of God? We can encourage and we can love from behind that gate, while still protecting ourselves.
Being a good gate-keeper comes with practice. It also comes with knowing how to put yourself and love yourself first. You really aren’t any good to anyone if you don’t know how to do that. It’s not a selfish thing at all. To be selfless for others, as a lot of us our (in a good way) we first have to be selfish. Just like on the airplane how they tell you to first put on your oxygen mask and then help the person beside you! How I think of loving myself first may help you……sometimes when I think of loving myself, I imagine myself as a baby, I keep this particular picture in mind, and I imagine that baby needs me desperately to hold her and rock her and love her and feed her. I imagine that I am the only person in the world that baby has, and then I love her fiercely. So if you imagine that, then imagine that baby behind your gate and imagine everyone trying to get behind that gate to that baby. Think about the kind of people you would want to hold it, and interact with it. Who would you trust? You have to be your own gate-keeper. People may not necessarily like your choices. But they are YOUR choices. Like I said, you come first. Don’t let your gate fling open and shut carelessly. Let the people who want behind your gate SHOW you why they should be there and never be afraid to give anyone the boot. People should EARN the right to be behind your gate. Remember, you have a lot to protect.