Taken from the book titled Boundaries, the authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, state the following:
“Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives.”
The process for setting boundaries is a piece of cake, but it’s the implementation of these same boundaries that can become quite difficult. I’ve been down this road before, and just as anything in life – it becomes easier to do the more it’s practiced.
For several months, I inherently wished that boundaries weren’t even necessary in my relationships. “Couldn’t we all just get along without them?”, I thought to myself.
In my mind, boundaries appeared as a reactive response to a sinful world. For this reason, it was never a positive experience for me. However, over the years the Lord has shown me that in His goodness He wisely implemented boundaries as part of His creation, before sin ever entered the world (refer to yesterday’s post HERE).
Therefore, boundaries must be essential to life. So, it’s wise for us to evaluate the state of our relationships and those we allow to influence our lives.
Let’s take a glance at the following scriptures the Lord directed me to this morning concerning relational boundaries:
1. We have specific roles within relationships, we cannot be all things to all people. Depending on the context of the relationship, we adopt certain roles. For example: ‘You are a child of God, but you are not someone’s Holy Spirit.’ ‘You are a daughter of your mother, but you’re not your mother’s parent, you’re her daughter.’ These are distinct roles that can easily become distorted if appropriate boundaries are not put in place. And protected.
We are to be in relationship with other people, this is very healthy. However, we are only expected to love them through the heart of Christ within specified boundaries. We need God’s wisdom to show us how to implement either a healthy detachment (separation) from an individual, or to instruct our hearts on specific issues that need to be addressed in the relationship. If something about the person’s actions causes you to feel anxious, guilty, shameful, or depressed, then these are pretty strong indicators on where you can start in your conversation with the Lord. The Holy Spirit doesn’t adopt the role as the Savior of the world. That belongs to Jesus. We also need to evaluate our proper roles in the relationships we have while operating in His love.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18
2. Developing intimate relationships with non-believers. This is a sticky topic. I have unbelievers in my life that I absolutely adore. I’m sure we all do. You know Jesus is in the same situation? Not everyone believes in Him nor do they accept Him as their Savior, but He still loves them. And we should do the same. He died for us all. I personally hold a conviction to intentionally seek out relationships with unbelievers and lavish them with Christ’s love. But, I also have limits. The Word does provide caution for developing intimate relationships with non-believers in order to keep a clear conscious by avoiding worldly influence. To be yoked with another individual means to clamp to another, to be enslaved by them, or to tie and link together. And it is incredibly wise for us to evaluate how closely linked we are to those who do not live by the Word. Once again, we are to love, but to love wisely.
“Do not be deceived:’Bad company ruins good morals’.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
“So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
3. We cannot fix the problems of others. We must have the ability to say “no” to harmful things in our lives. This is a strong boundary that needs to be in place across the board. It is Jesus who carries the burdens of others, not us. That is why He is the Savior of the world. We also cannot rescue people from experiencing the consequences of their bad decisions. They are robbed from the opportunity to learn and grow, meanwhile our hearts grow hard and resentful. God never intended for us to play the role of a Savior in anyone’s life.
“For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:5
“A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:7-8
4. We cannot allow others to manipulate us. What is manipulation? It is defined as the devious influence for one’s own advantage. I don’t like manipulation. It’s when people place a guilt trip on you for not doing what they want you to do. It’s that feeling of resentment and regret for spending hours of your day on something you never wanted to do in the first place. This isn’t the cheerful giving that Jesus was referring to, it’s far from it, beloved. It’s an unhealthy tactic coming from a boundaryless person looking to serve their own agenda. And the Lord is telling us to say ‘no’ in love.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
May the Lord guide us in the boundaries we need to set with our family members, friends, and those we interact with day to day, in order that we might experience the greatest joys found in a healthy relationship. He is beyond able to instruct us on where these protective borders need to be. Trust in Him, beloved. He will equip you for the task. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on setting boundaries for the mind.
And thank you for choosing His Daily Dose!