Because I love You I Am Saying No

Kara Colburn
You know when you mow your yard, there is a place where you stop because it crosses into your neighbor's property? Or in the case at our house, where we do not have next door neighbors, we have set the boundary of where our yard ends.

Do you have set rules for your kids? A specific bedtime for the little ones, a curfew for the teenagers? What about expectations at work? A certain time to be there and a time you get to leave? A dress code?  

What happens when these expectations are not met?  

Consequences.

We establish boundaries because it is what Love requires.  

*Love accepts and forgives.

*Love also acknowledges truth and requires righteous behavior.

Love cannot exist without boundaries. Boundaries indicate ownership...of property, identity, emotions, behavior, choices, etc. Consequences happen when a boundary is violated.

I am in the thick of this right now, with someone I love. There has been the accepting and forgiving side of love that has come somewhat easily. But now my husband and I are faced with asking them to acknowledge truth and show a change in behavior.  

It is difficult. Frustrating. Angering. Heartbreaking.  

Living with BOUNDARIES in our lives is something God demonstrates to us through His Word. He shows us over and over the benefits of the full meaning of love...accepting and forgiving people just as they are as well as acknowledging truth and requiring righteous behavior.  

"God cares enough about us and His relationship with us that He will not allow destructive behavior to hurt us or to destroy the relationship." (Henry Cloud, Boundaries)

*Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. (Psalm 85:10 HCSB)

Establishing boundaries is not about telling others what they need to do or not do in order to be your friend or be in your circle/tribe. Establishing boundaries is YOU deciding what you will accept from others as they grow close to you. This is difficult for most people because we actually need to communicate that some things are not okay with us in the relationship. In adult relationships we often confuse telling someone "No" with being unkind. But being honest and clear with others about your boundaries...aka what you are okay with and not okay with...is so helpful for them and you.

 It says "Because I love you, I am not okay with this.  I care about you and our connection so I trust you to tell you what is not acceptable to me."

God the Father did this beautifully. He loves us so much that He has given us parameters in which to live our lives. Why? That we would live and walk in true freedom. When we establish boundaries in our relationships, we are fighting for ourselves AND others to walk in true freedom. A lack of boundaries says that others can do whatever they want without accountability. There is no love in operating this way because there is no honesty, no trust, no freedom.
From the beginning, God set boundaries:

-Separating the darkness from the light, and the water from the land (Genesis 1).

-The creation of man and woman, separately.
(Genesis 2)

-Distinguishing what tree Adam and Eve could eat from vs what tree they could not eat from...and why.
(Genesis 3)

-Creating all the nations from one man, determining their boundaries. (Acts 17)

-Being intimate only within the context of marriage. (1 Corinthians 7)

-Getting away from life's busy activity to take care of yourself. (Luke 5)

As I initially addressed this with our friend, I explained that they had crossed a boundary we had set with them early in our relationship. I reminded them how much we cared about them and how our love would not change, but I explained that how we loved them would look a differently because they had deceived us.

We were now demonstrating the part of love that acknowledges truth and expects behavior to change. The boundary we set puts some distance between us and it is a consequence that (temporarily) hurts them because they no longer have the same close access to us as they did.   It hurts because we have said "No, that is not okay. Some things will have to change in our relationship because we have priorities we must protect."

The boundary does not cut off the other person. It actually gives hope for restoration because it acknowledges free will and says "I do not control you, you control you. I only control myself and what I will do in this relationship."

This is the beautiful way God connects with us. He allows us to choose, but not to the detriment of our connection to Him.  

It might be a good idea to take a look at how you are doing at establishing boundaries in your relationships. You can ask yourself a few questions to help...

*Is this relationship strengthening my life, or decreasing me?  
(when I know who I am in Christ, I can easily recognize when I am not walking in my true identity)

*Am I carrying the responsibility of his/her decisions and/or the effects of the those decisions?
(I do not step inside when he/she experiences consequences & suffering)

*Am I adjusting what is important in my life in order to "help" him/her?
(my home, family, work, ministry, peace of mind, etc... are not to take a back seat or suffer because of my relationship with this person)

I pray that you experience the liberty of honesty in your relationships. That you can fully love others in the way God loves us...both accepting and forgiving, as well as acknowledging truth and requiring righteous behavior. They and you will be better for it!
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1 Comment


JoAnna - August 22nd, 2021 at 6:49am

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