Thursday, March 06, 2008

Boundaries

ON BOUNDARIES  

 

“Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. The

younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the

estate.” So he divided his property between them. Not long after that,

the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country

and there squandered his wealth in wild living.’”” (Luke 15:11-13, NIV)

 

A popular subject these days is boundaries. And what are they?

Not to be confused with walls which shut everybody out, healthy

boundaries are necessary defenses to “keep the good in and the bad

out.” That is, they allow good people and kindness into our space

(our comfort zone) and keep toxic people and hurtful actions out.

They are to protect us from people who would use and/or abuse us,

hurt us, and seek to control, manipulate or even possess us.

 

Boundaries are needed to protect us from boundary-busters who are

people who have no respect for others’ boundaries, freedom, and/or

privacy. They are also needed to contain our own aggression so

we don’t hurt others.

 

Healthy boundaries are thus essential for healthy living and

healthy relationships.

 

Boundaries are also to protect our children and other people from

those of us who are overprotective. For when we do for others what

they can and need to do for themselves, we are not helping or loving

them. We are doing it out of our own need to be needed and are

hurting them.

 

I recall reading about some sea gulls in a fishing village where for

many years they fed on the scraps the fishermen left. When the

fishing industry in this place closed, the seagulls had forgotten

how to gather food for themselves. They died of starvation.

 

The same principle applies to people. When we do things to keep them

overdependent on us, we are not respecting their boundaries and

hinder or even destroy their growth and maturity. It’s the same

with God, he will bend the heavens to touch the earth to do for us

what we can’t do for ourselves - such as he did at Calvary – but

he won’t do for us what we can and need to do for ourselves.

 

In today’s Scripture Jesus told the parable about the Prodigal Son.

It was to illustrate how God will let us go and do our own thing.

He doesn’t overprotect us even from our own foolishness. And if you

remember the rest of the parable, when the prodigal son repented

and returned home, his father (God) accepted him fully and

loved him as if he had never gone astray.

 

God has healthy boundaries and gives us freedom of choice.

We need to have healthy boundaries too and give others the

freedom of choice.

 

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to see when I am not

respecting others’ boundaries and to develop healthy boundaries

to protect myself. Gratefully in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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