Beginning his sermon, Pastor Phyl asked if we have ever crossed a line. He gave us various illustrations of lines, and boundaries which we have in life. A boundary is a line of demarkation, such as the white lines on the road, marking the hard shoulder from the lanes of traffic.
The thing is, there’s nothing to stop us from crossing these lines. We all have choices about whether we will stay on the path, or cross the boundary, but the one thing we can be sure of is, if we do cross over the line, then we can expect to get hurt. In the same way, if we cross boundaries in our lives, then it can affect our relationships, and people can get hurt.
As humans, we’ve all crossed the lines at one time or another, but when we look at scripture, it says in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” Here, we see that Jesus loves us so much, and He doesn’t want to see us get hurt. Reality, though, shows how we struggle to set those limits. We all struggle with boundaries, and there are lots of questions surrounding them, such as, “How do I set limits and still be a loving person?”
Pastor Phyl gave the example of a young man, who had planned to take his girlfriend out for the day, when his mother phoned, and rather than putting that boundary in place, he cancelled the trip with his girlfriend, in order to do what his mother wanted him to do. The thing is, we shouldn’t be controlling with people. We are called to stay true to ourselves, and our hearts.
Speaking of the two parts of this series, Phyl told us that the ‘Boxes’ section was a message for the heart, and that this, ‘Boundaries’ section was for the head. We must make sure that when we set up boundaries, that we are working from our heads and not our hearts. ‘Boxes’, involves us letting Jesus in, whereas, ‘Boundaries’, involves keeping things out.
Proverbs 15:10 says, “Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path;”. The thing is, if we step away from the path that God has for us, then we must expect the consequences to follow, whether these are financial, spiritual, emotional, or relational.
We need boundaries when it comes to both places, and people. We often find ourselves listening to the wrong voices; the voices of other people, rather than the voice of God, and boundaries perform the function of keeping things that will harm and hurt us out.
There are two kinds of boundaries that we have to contend with:
The first, is boundaries with places. In 2 Samuel 11, we hear how David was not where he was supposed to be. He hung back, and then, when he saw Bathsheba, he took that second look at her, which crossed the boundary set in place, as he stepped over into sin.
The same can be true for us. Some of us are not where we are supposed to be and this is when things go wrong. Just as David hung back, so can we, and this is when we cross the boundaries God has for us, and then people get hurt.
Pastor Phyl then asked us, what places are there in our lives, that we need to avoid?
The second, is boundaries with people. We all know that person, who is the life and soul of the party when their partner isn’t around. They will act like a different person when they are around different people.
Judges 16, tells of Samson and Delilah. The thing is that Samson crossed a boundary with her, and as a result, she was able to find out the secret of his strength. She was a toxic person to Samson. We all have these people in our lives; people who we really should give a wide berth to.
The truth is, we always remember people who cross the line, and it is never a good thing. We are called not to cross the line, but to keep the commands of God in every aspect of our lives.
Pastor Phyl then challenged us to take a ‘Boundary Test’, and to see where some of the boundaries we might be crossing are in our lives, in order that we may begin to build healthier ones.
Scriptures: John 14:15, Proverbs 15:10, 2 Samuel 11, Judges 16.