TITLE: God is a Boundary Maker
By Linda Lariscy
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Healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships. Your well-being hinges on how well you set and maintain boundaries in your life. You may think that families need no boundaries. But in fact families and all close relationships benefit from boundaries. Think of boundaries as limits. God sets limits. You are created in God’s image. You are to be an imitator of God. You, too, are to set limits. Why? Limits allow you to honor others and receive honor as well. You can honor people if you understand boundaries and how God has designed them as a means of protection.
I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries (Proverbs 8:29NLT).
Ponder this statement: You have what you allow. Boundaries or the lack thereof demonstrate that you are responsible for how your life is turning out. True boundaries will have consequences if anyone crosses them otherwise they are mere bluffs. People will tresspass your boundaries if you do not define or express them. Once you set your boundaries take responsibility to see them honored. This will take a measure of boldness on your part. As a Christian we are to be bold as a means of defining who we are in obedience to Christ’s commands. The boundaries we set for ourselves should reflect the nature of Jesus Christ
… and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness Acts 4:31KJV).
When someone is breaking a clearly defined boundary it is incumbent upon you to politely remind the individual what he or she is doing. Sugar-coating the issue doesn’t work with people who perpetually break boundaries. Sexual harassment, bullying, and discrimination are all forms of dishonor occurring in the workplace, school, and even in the home. Unfortunately, most boundary breakers don’t have a clue as to the fact that they are crossing a line. The more straight-forward you are the safer you are.
You may be surprised to find that Jesus understood boundaries and confronted people when His boundaries were crossed. He often did this to his own disciples. There is power in redemptive confrontation. People need to know when they act inappropriately as a means to effect healthy change.
But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of his twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss.48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48 NLT)?”
And turning to the woman he said to Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thy house; thou gavest me not water on my feet, but she has washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with her hair. 45 Thou gavest me not a kiss, but she from the time I came in has not ceased kissing my feet (Luke 7:44-45 Darby).
Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.22 But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”23 Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s (Matt 16:21-23 NLT).”
Boundary-setting is a way to fully honor God and respect your own self. Temper your behavior by delivering your request gracefully to the individual. Understand at the same time you cannot control his or her response or behavior to your request. People who constantly refuse to honor your boundaries are resistant to change. The change needed may have to come from you. If you have made your requests clear and communicated your boundaries consistently with no avail, you may have to consider ending the relationship or at least withdrawing from it.
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