Demonstrating Healthy Christian Boundaries

“A relationship without boundaries is not a relationship worth having.”
Rev. Dr. Thomas Luke

I wanted to write an article regarding the importance of interpersonal boundaries. I have been praying for years that God would show me what healthy boundaries look like, and give me the strength to back them up.

I did not know what healthy boundaries looked like years ago, and it took a few years of pastoral counseling and other mature brothers in the Lord to teach me healthy (Christian boundaries), which are different than the boundaries of the world. I never learned to set limits on people, and if I did, I was not secure enough to back up my boundaries for fear of losing your much-needed approval. Basically, I was a doormat and allowed people to walk all over me. The opposite side of that coin is that I was also a boundary violator; I didn’t respect the boundaries of others and to be honest I often did not know what healthy people automatically knew, where the limits are?

I would much rather be respected than liked, I know people that I respect although I do not like them. I respect them because they respect themselves and do not care to much what other people think about them. When I set boundaries with healthier people, they seem to have an easier time accepting the limits I set with them. Those whom I set boundaries with that have greater rejection or entitlement issues, usually do not respect my boundaries and become defensive and angry “that’s their problem”. At this time, I am not afraid to lay the axe to the root (Mathew 3:10), by cutting off all toxic relations that conflict with my boundaries (Luke 17:3).

It has taken me time and hard work in my spiritual journey to finally get to the place of being able to set boundaries with others. Although my spiritual development is a work in progress, I have not arrived until the Lord returns and grants me my redeemed body as promised in scripture (1 Corinthians 15:32 NIV in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.)

My most painful defect is “people pleasing”. People pleasers do not do something for others out of the kindness of their hearts, they can be manipulative, passive/aggressive people who are emotionally dishonest and need your approval to be Ok. The bible instructs us on how to respond towards people who ask us for something (Mathew 5:37 NIV – All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.)

10  Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
– Galatians 1:10, NIV

Book recommendations:

  1. The Least of These: Missions: Restoring Child-Victims of Human Sex Trafficking in Cambodia (Thomas Luke, MA)
  2. Boundaries, Where You End and I Begin by (Ann Katherine, M.A.)
  3. How to Say Yes and How to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by (Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend)
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