Boundaries Are an Act of Love
Conversations about boundaries are often reserved for romantic relationships, but they apply to friendships, too. Many times, boundary conversations can be difficult to have because we’re scared of hurting people’s feelings.
We may even feel like we’re not supposed to set boundaries as Christians, citing verses about turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, and carrying one another’s burdens.
But what if boundaries are actually the secret ingredient that allow us to love others better?
A boundary ensures that we remain our healthiest self physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And if we want healthy relationships, we have to be healthy personally. That’s why Jesus instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
So, if you have a relationship that consistently drains you or feels one-sided, it’s likely that it’s in need of some healthy boundaries.
And guess what? Jesus set boundaries with His disciples throughout the Gospels. Remember His close friend, Peter? When Peter rebuked Jesus for predicting His death, Jesus set a boundary to protect God’s plan.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew16:23 NIV
Another way Jesus set boundaries was protecting His time with God. He left the crowds and His friends often to withdraw to the wilderness to pray. Think about that for a second. That means that He walked away from people who needed help and healing to spend time with His Father.
We have the same opportunity to set healthy boundaries so that we can bring our best, loving selves to the relationships around us.
So instead of avoiding conversations about boundaries for fear of hurting people’s feelings, embrace them so that you can love people well. Because when you set healthy boundaries, you are bringing your healthiest self to your friendships, and everyone will benefit from it.
Pray: Heavenly Father, relationships can get messy, and boundaries are hard. Please be with me as I reflect on my relationships and consider where healthy boundaries need to be established. It is through Your strength that I can have important conversations, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Give me the courage and confidence to set the right boundaries in all of my relationships. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Challenge: Many of us have a relationship that could use healthier boundaries. Reflect on that relationship today and pray for the other person. Then, schedule a time to have a healthy conversation about some necessary boundaries.