I have been talking with my husband about destructive relationships of all sorts like I blogged in “If You Lay With the Dogs You’re Gonna Get Fleas” and “Domestic Abuse” Part 1 and Part 2. I guess because I am still baffled by some of my past friendships, confused how I got so tangled up in the drama of them, trying to learn more about myself, trying to help my kids understand how important their close relationships are, and trying to properly gauge new relationships since I’m brand new to the area here.
So, while talking with him he says, you know boundaries are biblical. I looked at him slightly confused. Now, I’m sure that lots of people already knew that, but I never saw it that way. In my mind, God just wants peace, love, and openness between everyone with everyone cooperating together at all times. Kum-ba-ya. You know, heaven on earth between his many creations. Later that afternoon after I gave him that completely confused look, I opened an email from my husband that went something like this:
God does call us to live peacefully as long as it is possible. Romans 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” But, being at peace with all men does not mean having the same level of relationship with all men. From the beginning God set up boundaries for our own safety and we need to set up boundaries for our own safety as well.
God set up physical boundaries and breaking them has consequences.
“Mark off a boundary all around the mountain. Warn the people, Be careful! Do not go up on the mountain or even touch its boundaries. Anyone who touches the mountain will certainly be put to death.” Exodus 19:12.
God set up boundaries within relationships and breaking them has consequences.
There are clear boundaries set by God about marriage; warnings to avoid those who slander and gossip (A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers Proverbs 20:19); there are friendship levels with people who have bad tempers (Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul Pro 22:24-25).
There are boundaries between believers and unbelievers (Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14-15); truth about friendships (Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Pro 13:20); warnings about financial relationships (Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you. Pro 22:26-27);
Boundaries about believers who are lazy (stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 2 Thes 3:6-8);
Boundaries between fellow believers when sin dominates their lives (When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” 1 Cor 5:9-13);
Boundaries about associating with wicked people: “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.” Psalm 1.
I’m currently reading (and attending an online bible study about – you should look into it it’s awesome!) the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst. I love love love this statement she makes “Just because we extend forgiveness doesn’t mean we keep that person in our close-knit circle. Forgiveness is mandatory; reconciliation is optional.”
Yes friends, boundaries are for our protection and safety. Use wisdom in your close friendships. Your relationships will still have road bumps, the need for forgiveness and mercy, and communication issues. Choose your intimate friendships (close friends, prayer partners, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, people who counsel you, and your pastors) prayerfully and carefully.
Social media hugs!