Friday, July 25, 2014

Is Setting Boundaries On Others Biblical?

There are many people writing and talking about boundaries they set for their spouses, friends, and relatives. This, for some reason, never seemed right to me. I think it is fine to set boundaries for yourself; boundaries for purity, for protection, etc. We are also to train and teach our children by setting boundaries for them; teaching them right from wrong.

Setting boundaries for anyone but yourself or your children seems wrong to me since we can't control anybody else's behavior. It seems like it is another way of saying you are trying to control someone else. Then comes in the problem of NEVER becoming a "doormat," since doormat is a dirty word today.

You see, the problem I have with the word boundary and doormat is that neither of these words are in the Bible. Yes, Jesus went away from the crowds at times for prayer and to be alone, but is that a boundary? It may be a boundary for Him, but not for others and He ALWAYS allowed interruptions to His "boundaries." He was mocked, beaten, and crucified on a cross. Was he not being a doormat for the world? Aren't we called to be like Him?

What about being called to be a "living sacrifice?" What about denying ourselves and giving ourselves to others? What about generosity and a servant being called the greatest of all? All these just don't seem to fit in with the so called "boundaries" people are setting up for others in their lives or the fear of being a doormat. However, we are never called to participate in sin for we must obey God rather than man, and if there is any type of abuse, call the authorities and see the link below.*

Shouldn't we be willing to be inconvenienced for others? Shouldn't we think of these times as golden opportunities to serve others? When we sacrifice our desires and wants for others, aren't we sacrificing our time and energy for Christ? When we give a child a cup of water, aren't we told we are giving Christ a cup of water?

Setting boundaries for others seems like psycho babble to me and not biblical at all. All this stuff about not being a doormat seems the same. If we insist on setting boundaries for others and not being a doormat, we will ALWAYS be unhappy when we are inconvenienced, interrupted, or asked to do things we don't feel like doing.

I  have just found in my own life, that the more I give myself and my desires away and serve others, the better my life becomes. When I don't need things to go my way and get things my way, the more joy I have. We are called to give our lives away and boundaries and not being a doormat just don't seem to fit into the biblical definition of being a godly servant for Christ.

But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Matthew 23:11

*This does NOT apply to those who are in destructive marriages and their spouses have destructive habits that NEED boundaries. Please read this post if you are in a destructive marriage! You absolutely need to set boundaries and consequences to destructive behavior, maybe even separating for a time.