Relationships are the most rewarding experiences this side of heaven. But any relationship can present challenges. And when they do, the best approach for restoring peace and harmony is boundaries.
God himself demonstrated why and how to create boundaries. He gave Adam and Eve just one: Don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). It 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. To eat of the tree of life in that state would perpetuate their separation from God, not restore it.
Boundaries are not always easy, but they’re necessary because they protect both parties in the relationship. Done well, boundaries are a loving action that draw reasonable lines around our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Good boundaries teach people how to treat you and give relationships their best chance to be restored.
Lysa TerKeurst has experienced the devestating consequences of living without boundaries. She’s also experienced how to navigate challenging relationships with boundaries. She’s our guest on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Setting Boundaries in Your Most Difficult Relationships.” She shares how to love people in healthy ways by communicating appropriate boundaries and setting parameters that protect the individuals in the relationship.
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. For more information, click here.