As we continue to work our way through Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, we get exposed to a wide variety of ideas and concepts relating to boundaries. Either the boundaries we don’t have, or the inappropriate ones we do have. In many cases, we don’t know or realize some of the dysfunction in our own life until we read and learn about the good and the bad. We will also need to understand that who we are today was not just the results of others behaviors, but we had some role in who we are as well. Now we need to become aware of our situation.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24
Our past is our ally in repairing our present and ensuring a better future. This week we are going to clarify some of the typical things that can go wrong and cause boundary injuries. The good thing about injuries is that they can be healed. Let’s review some of the common injuries and see what we can do for ourselves.
Withdrawal from Boundaries
Good relationships and mature characters are built on appropriate “no’s”. Developing children need to know their boundaries will be honored. It is crucial that their disagreements, their practices, and their experimentation not result in a withdrawal of love. (page 76)
Who, if anyone, has withdrawn in response to your boundaries? Was making mistakes or failing accepted as part of growing up?
When, if ever, have you withdrawn in response to other people’s boundaries?
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – Proverbs 27:17
What does that Proverb say about the importance of not withdrawing when someone sets a boundary that we don’t like? What about when someone makes us uneasy, yet does not seem to violate our boundaries? Is this always a bad thing? (If things are difficult or challenging, does that mean there is a boundary problem?)
Hostility Against Boundaries
When parents greet their children’s disagreement, disobedience, or practicing hostility, the children don’t learn that delaying gratification and being responsible have benefits. They only learn how to avoid someone’s wrath. (pages 78-80)
Who, if anyone, has responded to your boundaries with hostility?
When, if ever, have you responded with hostility to other people’s boundaries?
10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. – Hebrews 12:10-11
Hostility is a poor substitute for God’s program for learning discipline. What does Hebrews 12:10-11 say about the importance and long-term effects of discipline?
Overcontrol occurs when otherwise loving parents try to protect their children from making mistakes by having too-strict rules and limits (page 80)
On what issues did your parents exercise overcontrol?
If you are a parent, on what issues have you or may you be exercising, too much control?
Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. – Hebrews 5:14
Parents must make room for their children to make mistakes. What does this verse in Hebrews say about the learning and development that occur because of the mistakes we make?
Lack of Limits
Lack of parental boundaries is the opposite of hostility, but the injuries that result can be just as severe (pages 80-82)
What areas of your life had too few limits?
If you are a parent, have you failed or are you failing to put limits on your children? Where?
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ – Matthew 25:14-30
According to the warning involving the Three Servants, what awaits a person living to an undisciplined, careless manner?
As we contemplate all of this information in chapter 4 and realize that many of us have been impacted by many of these styles. These are import nuggets of knowledge and we need to ensure we don’t just skim over them. Take these boundary injury topics and reflect on them this week. As you engage and interact with people, realize that all people you come in contact with have been defined and developed by a wide variety of these same topics. Using this information, allow the compassion of God be developed in your own life.
Please make sure you to finish up this chapter 4 work with the next lesson: