In relationships, we all need healthy boundaries (not barriers, which are the same as walls) to shut the bad out and let the good in.
That is, we need boundaries to protect ourselves from hurtful people and to stop people using and taking advantage of us — and to stop our rescuing irresponsible people.
We also need boundaries to keep our own bad in — in order to stop us controlling, hurting, and/or misusing others.
�� If someone is abusing or hurting me, I need to let him/her firmly but lovingly know that I will not accept their behavior.
And, if they continue acting in a hurtful way, I will need to distance myself from them.
However, at any point should they desire to meet in a kind and loving way, my door will always be open to them.
�� Boundaries are supposed to strengthen our “no” muscle.
People who can’t say “no” to others have either weak or no boundaries. And people who won’t take “no” for an answer are boundary busters.
�� On the other hand, WALLS put up insurmountable barriers and shut everybody out.
People who build walls around their heart have been hurt in the past and, being afraid of getting hurt again, shut out everybody.
You simply can’t get close to this type of person.
This sadly, does come with consequenses. They have no close relationships and suffer from an inner loneliness and love deprivation.
This is a very unhealthy way to live!
One reason we might confuse Boundaries, walls and forgiveness is this.
Forgiving those who continue to assault us is often resisted is because forgiveness is confused with reconciliation.
Does God call us to rekindle a relationship that would only continue in abuse?
Are we called to endlessly subject ourselves to hurtful treatment or else not be considered a Christian?
Questions like these take place when forgiveness and reconciliation are confused.
God always calls every Christian to forgive others, BUT… God does not call us to always be reconciled.
Forgiveness can be done in your heart between you and God. Reconciliation must involve the willful choice of two people or parties. (Both parties want to rekindle a relationship… reconcile.)
In fact…… it’s against Scripture to reconcile with people who claim to be Christians and yet refuse to repent or ask forgiveness of the sins you have pointed out that harmed you. (Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
When people retaliate, are threatening, are a risk to you, a risk to others, or someone is consistently living in a way contrary to the Scriptures, it’s your biblical requirement to forgive them, while not being willing to reconcile with them.
�� Jesus set boundaries against the religious Pharisees and those who tried to get rid of Him before His time was ready.
He also set boundaries against the money changers and those who abused God’s House in The Temple in Jerusalem.
Humility is not weakness and we, as Christians, need to set boundaries against abusive people and all evil.
It’s neither loving nor Christian to allow people to misuse us, mock us, walk over us, or abuse us — nor for us to do the same to others.
Let’s Pray About This Right Now!
✝️ Dear Father God,
Please help me, teach me, to develop healthy boundaries and learn to lovingly say ‘no’ when it’s called for and necessary.
And help me never to be a boundary buster who fails to recognize other people’s boundaries.
Teach me about seeing these things clearly and be consistently forgiving with no intent to ever retaliate or wound others.
Let me think like you think. Let me pursue peace at all times where it is possible.
Where it’s not possible, help me forgive freely and leave the situation in your care completely.
Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.