Let’s take a look at the definition of love. I think to truly love is to look beyond a persons appearance and behavior to their highest good; or better yet- especially when a person seems unlovable. If you don’t follow Christ or believe in God, you can formulate your own set of thoughts here or simply stop reading, but for those of us that claim we do, we are duty bound to remember that all human beings are created in God’s image, and yes that includes the person of the other political persuasion or the one who just gave you the middle finger wave on the freeway or the guy or gal who recently broke your heart. And because Jesus is God with skin on, maybe we just ought to sit up and pay attention to what he says and does and imitate him instead of shooting from the hip which is what happens most of the time. While on earth Jesus looked for the highest good in all people and he loved (still does) the lost, but he wasn’t was a doormat. Jesus loved with boundaries; he understood and showed us that boundaries protect ourselves and others.
Love with boundaries allows others the dignity to make their own mistakes and to learn from them. It is also the flip side of that coin; it doesn’t rescue others from the consequences of their choices. It treats others as we would wish to be treated in any situation; it doesn’t fix, manage and control but minds its own business. It accepts life on life’s terms; prays for folks instead of talking about them behind their backs, which, by the way is gossip and it doesn’t belittle people. Love with boundaries serves others without being servile; sacrifices time, talent and energy for the good of others without losing our self. Love with boundaries can say no or detach in love when needed; doesn’t do for others what they should be doing for themselves. Love with boundaries drops the rope in the tug of war in a no win argument; remembers others may be soul sick human beings not bad people and loves without smothering – remembering each one of us are individuals, even when we are in close, intimate relationships. Love with boundaries looks at the log jutting out of our own eye not the stick in our neighbors’ eye.
Life is a made up of relationships and relationship is where love is made manifest and boundaries are found. We have relationships with family, friends, schoolmates, teachers, ourselves, strangers we come into contact with like other drivers and store clerks. We have relationships with our work, co workers, our bodies, food, just about everything really. If we don’t have a biblical based worldview (and sometimes even if we do!) we usually don’t learn to love with boundaries in our relationships until they begin to unravel. Far too often we confuse setting boundaries with building walls, shutting people or life out, living in a state of denial about the reality of things. Love with boundaries is a healthy way of learning to protect ourselves and others. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7) is the foundation of the house and lays out the tools we need while reminding us when we imitate him and live by his standards we are light in a dark world.
In this life, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional when we learn to follow the leader Jesus Christ and to love with boundaries. “For God so loved the world.” John 3:16. ©
Be joy filled always,
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