Click on link above for visual of boundaries.
Boundaries are scriptural principles. All of creation contains boundaries and Jesus respected the boundaries of human beings by giving us a will and the ability to make choices. In the song by Nicole C Mullins, called “My Redeemer Lives”, it talks about who taught the sun when to shine….. the moon…..the shore……where to begin and end. These are all talking about boundaries, which is where something ends and another thing starts. God created and respects boundaries. Without boundaries, we have chaos. God is not the author of chaos and disorder.
I once had a pastor say that we are not supposed to have boundaries. This man did not understand the concept of boundaries and he, himself, lived with them and set them all the time. To live without boundaries would be impossible and chaotic. The purpose of boundaries is to keep the good in and the bad out. It is a limit or line that determines where one thing begins and the other thing ends. It is to protect you physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is to provide some form of structure and order in life so that all things can be done decently and in order. Some examples of boundaries that you may not have thought about are: Skin – keeps the good in, namely your organs, blood and vital stuff; keeps the bad out, namely germs, viruses, diseases and other harmful pollutants. When these boundaries are trespassed against and harmful things enter beyond the boundary, then war takes place. The body sends out white blood cells to attack the intruder and defeat the invading enemy. If the boundary has been damaged, then the body produces scabs or blood clots. Blood is the life force of the body and it will harden in order to mend the fence or boundary so to speak. Sometimes the wounds form scars in which nothing will ever again enter at that point because the boundary has been mended with such a thick, hard substance of extra skin. If too much has trespassed against the boundary of skin or if the invading border basher is stronger than the warrior cells, then death and destruction take place. The same thing happens to us emotionally. If you invade someone’s emotional boundaries, expect to be attacked. This is in order that death and destruction do not occur in the emotional and spiritual realm of that human being. Try living without skin or emotional boundaries. Skin provides protection and order to us as physical human beings and it keeps the good in and the bad out. It defines where we begin and end.
States, countries, cities, neighborhoods, etc. – These all have their boundaries or a definition of where they begin and end. It brings order. Laws are made to keep the unwanted out and the good in. Governments provide some protection to those living within their boundaries. Wars begin when boundaries are violated.
Land and ocean – There is a line or boundary where one begins and the other ends. A boundary is a limit or line.
Locks on doors, doors and windows – Doors and the locks on doors tell others where they stop and the other person and their property begin. The pastor who stated that we are not supposed to have boundaries locked his door and those of the church’s every night. This is for protection. It keeps the good in (family) and the bad (attackers/robbers) out. That is why so many people feel violated when their home is broken into. A major boundary has been violated or broken.
Parking space – This offers order to a parking lot. You can’t have people parking willy, nilly wherever they want. It would be utter chaos and there would be major accidents. This provides order, protection to your property and provides limits on where to park.
Traffic laws, roads and bridges – This, too, provides order, protection and sets limits. You can’t have people driving willy, nilly wherever they want either. Think about what your lawn would look like if they did and how many people would be run over daily.
Desk – This is a boundary set up for work space. An office or room in the house can be the same thing. Your bedroom or kitchen is one example. It is a place set up for a specific function designed to protect, provide order and set limits on where a particular function is to take place.
Apartment, home, yard and fence – This determines what is yours and where you start and someone else ends. It provides order, structure and set limits. You can’t have people entering your apartment whenever they want to just because they live in the same building. This is for your protection.
Margins on a page – This provides structure and order. It determines where something starts and where it ends because it provides limits.
Laws and rules – Even the bible sets this boundary. It provides protection, order and sets limits on behavior that is harmful and unloving.
Bedtime – Here is one that all parents will recognize. You have to have a bedtime set for kids. You can’t have them going to bed whenever they feel like it. There has to be some limits, structure, and order within a family.
Mealtimes – Times set aside for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Appointments – Try to conduct your life without these. The pastor who didn’t believe that we should have boundaries set appointments all the time. This sets limits on the amount of time someone will give you. It states where it will begin and end. Your life would be utter chaos if you didn’t set limits on your time or make appointments for things. Falling within this category would also be start times for work, school, church, movies, dinner reservations and scheduling things on your calendar.
When telling someone that you have to get off the phone or go, you are setting a boundary. If the person does not respect that boundary and does not conclude their conversation with you, then you have to restate your boundary or that you have to go. If they still do not respect your boundary, then sometimes you have to be firm or even harsh. If I constantly have a person who does not respect my boundaries that I set when on the phone, then I don’t get on the phone with them. Otherwise, you can’t get off unless you are harsh. Then you get angry and other people are in control of your life, not you.
People who do not have boundaries do not have control of their lives. Situations and people run their lives and no wonder they feel out of control and resentful. If we live with controlling people, we have been taught that we are not supposed to have boundaries. Watch out if someone tells you that we are not supposed to have boundaries. Controlling people don’t want you to have any. They don’t like it when you try to free yourself from them either. They become angry at you for stating the limit or boundary and they think that you are controlling. Actually, you are trying to control or limit their behavior because they aren’t being respectful and responsible to you, and for their own behavior. Limits must be set on these people and they don’t like it. Especially if they have a lifetime history of running all over your yard or space and you have not put up a fence or stated a boundary. If someone has always run amuck all over your yard your whole life and you now set a boundary or put a fence around your yard, they feel controlled because they have been restricted and get angry and think you are the controlling one because you are no longer allowing them to trespass or run amuck all over your yard without your permission. Once you set boundaries with these people, they are restricted and do not have the freedom and control over you that they once had. This is good and healthy, but to them it seems controlling because they are now being limited in your life where before they had no limits.
It is ridiculous to state that we are not supposed to have boundaries. Look at all creation and you see boundaries. Night and day are boundaries and they are created by God.
We are to have emotional boundaries as well. Our emotions, thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and desires make up who we are as a person. They define us and no one has a right to tell us who we are (outside of God) or what we should be, feel, think, desire, need, etc. Anyone who takes on that role by expressing their negative opinions and preferences regarding what belongs to us or what lies within our boundary is crossing a line and needs to be rebuked as the bible states. If your brother trespasses against you, rebuke him. If you don’t know where the line is, then how do you know if you are trespassing against your brother? No one should tell you who to be. When someone relays the unspoken message about what you should or shouldn’t feel by explaining, giving their intent, justifying, denying, rationalizing, etc., then they are trespassing an emotional boundary and they are emotionally abusing and they should be rebuked and you are being a doer of the word by doing this. To rebuke means to show strong hatred for what the other person is doing. That is what my bible says!
Almost all conflicts come from crossing a boundary or line. As a result, it relays an unspoken message to the person being trespassed against that they are of no value or worth in your sight and this is what they are reacting to, although they may argue about the topic at hand and not be aware of what it is they are reacting to. It is really about their value and worth and their being violated as a result of someone crossing a boundary. It is the same feeling when someone breaks into your house. It leaves the same wounds, and scars and the person goes through all the same stages of abuse as if they were physically or sexually abused. We are communicating that we do not accept the person for who they are. We are cursing them and their identity. To talk them out of their feelings, wants, needs, desires, etc. is to communicate to them that they are unacceptable in our sight and we are trying to control them and dictate who they are. This takes a great deal of pride and fear in order to do this and the damage done to a person from living with boundary bashing, emotionally abusing controllers is devestating, although they don’t believe it should be and they don’t think it is a big deal.
Think about it. Would you want someone to dictate who you should be, what you should think, feel, want, desire and need and if you think, feel, want, desire and need something different than what someone else does, then you are shamed, controlled and barraged with why you shouldn’t want, feel, think, desire and need whatever it was you wanted? Don’t treat someone in a way you wouldn’t want to be treated. Respect other people for who they are and for their difference and don’t try to fix and control them. If it doesn’t affect you and if it doesn’t lie within your boundary, then keep your mouth shut, plain and simple. It is not yours to fix. What would you think of a neighbor who came over to your house and tried to tell you what color to paint your house and how to trim your bushes and how many cars you should own and what make cars they should be? You would think they were pretty rude and prideful wouldn’t you? You’d probably think, “Who do they think they are telling me how to run what belongs to me”? It is the same in the emotional realm.
Still thinking this is not a big deal? You need to repent or change your mind. You will have major relational problems, and people will not want to be around you! You will be provoking your children and others in your relationships to wrath. You will not be accepted or listened to because you do not accept or listen. You will cause emotional wounds in others and open them up to demonic influences and God will hold you accountable now that you have been informed. Boundaries are God given limits that are healthy and they are there to protect and maintain our emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health.