This week as we continue to discuss the Laws of Boundaries, from the fifth chapter of the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, we come upon a law that sounds good and beneficial.  We may have actually used the term “proactivity” or “proactive” many times in our life. Boundaries and our reactions and responses to situations is no different.

Many of us have known people who, after years of being passive and compliant, suddenly go ballistic, and we wonder what happened. We blame it on the counselor they are seeing or the company they’ve been hanging around with.

In reality, they had been complying for years, and their pent-up rage explodes.  This is reactive.  It is a result of many things building up and building up.

This week we discuss the idea of being pro-active, of addressing possible pitfalls and challenges that might come up and handle them before we have to react.

When is Enough Enough?

Boundaries are established and learned over time. We are not born with boundaries and then have to repair them. We have to be exposed to boundaries, become knowledgable of them, know the benefits of them and know how to recognize them.

Reaction phases are necessary but not sufficient

Can you share of a time when either you or someone you know showed “reactive” boundaries? (just responding to boundary violations)

Paul points out in various epistles that, as in the physical world, for every action in the spiritual realm of human relationships, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) – Romans 4:15

God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. – Romans 5:20

When have you seen someone, after years of compliance, go ballistic, when their pent-up rage explodes? Maybe that is your story. Share your perspective on this behavior – on its importance, on people’s reactions to it, on it freeing impact.

Once you have reacted, it is time to rejoin the human race and establish connections as equals, loving your neighbor as yourself.

Proactive people show you what they love, what they want, what they purpose, and what they stand for – as opposed to those who are known by what they hate, what they don’t like, what they stand against, and what they will not do. (page 98)

Where are you on this continuum? Do you think you are more reactive than proactive?  Do you think you are changing? Is this an area in your life that needs more attention?

The ultimate expression of power is love: it is the ability not to express power, but to restrain it. Proactive people are able to “love others as themselves,” “die to self,” and not “return evil for evil”

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. – Matthew 5:38-40

What example example of love does Jesus give in those verses?

In what relationship(s) is it time for you to move past the reactive to the proactive and begin living out the power of love?

Changing & Improving

It is nice to learn more about what’s going on, it can even seem signifcant that we can not define what is going on, but in reality, if we don’t learn, adapt and change for the better we are just a walking excuse. Let’s take this opportunity to not only recognize situations, but make some plans on implementing some new thinking and allow change to happen.

Share what you are planning to change or begin to do to allow change to happen? What do you need the rest of the guys to pray for and hold you accountable about?