Relationships are the most rewarding experiences this side of heaven, but they also present a challenge. How do you restore peace and harmony to a relationship that’s struggling?
God himself demonstrated why and how to create boundaries. In the Garden of Eden, He told Adam and Eve: Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). That one boundary communicated four important ideas about relationships:
- Boundaries define and protect freedom. God’s boundary protected Adam and Eve for their own good.
- Access requires responsibility. Adam and Eve had access to God and the Garden of Eden. But that access required responsibility and good stewardship.
- Broken boundaries bring consequences. Because Adam and Eve dishonored their relationship with God, God reduced their access to Him and removed them from the Garden.
- Consequences should be for protection, not harm. This circles back to point one. For their own good, Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden and never allowed to return. Eating of the tree of life in that state would have perpetuated their separation from God, not restored it.
Boundaries are not always easy, but they’re necessary because they protect both parties in the relationship. Done well, boundaries are loving. They draw reasonable lines around our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. They give a relationship its best chance to be restored.
On our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Setting Boundaries in Your Most Difficult Relationships,” we’re talking with author Lysa TerKeurst. She’s sharing how to love people by setting parameters that protect both you and the other person in the relationship and offer the relationship itself opportunities to thrive.
If you are struggling with a difficult relationship, we have caring Christian counselors on staff, and it would be their privilege to offer you a free consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Lysa TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s also the author of several books, including Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are. It’s available for a gift of any amount.
And wen you help Focus on the Family with a gift, your donation will be DOUBLED for TWICE the impact in helping others through this ministry. Our thanks to generous donors who’ve made that possible. Click here for more information or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).