The fifth chapter of the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend has been packed full of real life drama as well as boulders of wisdom. When we get to the root of the matter of our struggles with boundaries, we can see the motivation and cause of many of our actions. Last week we took the next step by admitting we were powerless, that we needed help, and we still do. Actually we will need help the rest of life. As a matter of fact, most likely, as we get older we will actually need more and more help, not less. This weeks discussion on the laws of boundaries brings us to the Law of respect. Now we might just be awakened to some more truths that we can benefit from in our definition and maintenance of boundaries.

Law #4: The Law of Respect

When we think about setting boundaries and trying to live by them, we fear that others will not respect them. We focus on others and lose clarity about ourselves (p.91)

Sometimes the problem is that we judge other people’s boundaries. The bible warns us about judging others and what the consequences are…

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Matthew 7:1-2

When we judge others’ boundaries, our will fall under the same judgment. If we condemn other’s boundaries, we can expect them to condemn ours. (p.92).

Do any of the following statements sound familiar?

“How could he refuse to come by and pick me up? It’s right on his way! He could find some ‘time alone’ some other time.”

“Why is she always seem critical?”

“What do you mean, ‘no’? I just need the money for a little while.”

“It seems that, after all I do for you, you could at least do me this one little favor.”

Which kinds of thoughts/judgments have you had about other people’s boundaries?

Why does this perspective on other people’s boundaries make it difficult to set our own boundaries?

With whom have you been caught up in this fear cycle and therefore been afraid to set the boundaries you need to set? With whom do you comply rather than set boundaries?

This is where the Law of Respect comes in:
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.– Matthew 7:12

When you feel like someone have either violated your boundary or ignored your boundary, can you see where this might be fueled by your respect of their boundaries?

We need to respect the boundaries of others in order to earn respect for our own boundaries. We need to treat their boundaries the way we want ours treated.

Whose boundaries do you need to have more respect for?

Call to Action

In the last couple of sessions we have learned about and been challenged by 4 simple to read laws about boundaries:

  1. Law of Sowing and Reaping
  2. Law of Responsibility
  3. Law of Power
  4. Law of Respect

Take time this week to reflect on these and reserve a time to see which laws are impacting your current life situations.  Don’t just side-step the laws, but also put them in action.  It is a two way interaction; our engagement with others and their boundaries as well as how we establish our boundaries and probably the most challenging, how we respond to other’s engagement with our boundaries.