In part because our church is doing a small group study on the topic of personal boundaries in relationship to having a healthy spiritual life, I have been considering what the Scripture says about boundaries and our relationships.
When I first hear the word “boundaries” what I first think of is personal space, and geographic boundaries among people groups, as well as geographic boundaries on one’s personal property. The Proverbs speak often about respecting and not moving the “boundary” stones that define people’s property.
When Adam and Eve were given boundaries as well. There were things that they could eat, and there were things that they could not eat. They ate some of the things that they should not, and when they did so they crossed a boundary, a behavioral boundary, that God set for them. He gave it to them for their own good, and not respecting the boundaries that God gave them brought sin and death into the world.
When we talk about developing boundaries in a moral sense, we are talking about being intentional about what we choose to say yes to doing, and what we choose to say no to as well. The Ten Commandments are given to teach people to respect God and others through honoring some basic boundaries that keep people feeling loved, comfortable, and safe. Don’t worship other gods. (If you do, you will not feel safe or loved by any of them) Don’t commit adultery. (If you cannot trust your friends yourself, or your spouse not to respect your sexual boundaries, you will not feel safe or able to trust others). Don’t kill (Because everyone’s life is sacred, and who wants to live their whole life sleeping with one eye open?).
Jesus said very clearly, “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no”. We should say what we mean, and mean what we say. We should also be able to listen to God’s Spirit, set priorities, and decide what we are going to do and who we are going to be in response to who he has made us to be and called us to do. Too often it is easy to live our lives trying to make everyone else happy, and forget to take responsibility for our own lives. If we live our lives seeking to make everyone happy, we will fail and be miserable. We are called to please God, and love others. To live the life he has called us to live, in obedience to his Word, and not be a slave to expectations of others. Praise God.