Wednesday, April 20, 2011
ARE BOUNDARIES IN RELATIONSHIPS UNCHRISTIAN?
Things to remember as you read what I'm going to say about boundaries in human relationships...
One...I believe the bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God in its original manuscripts, and means what it means even when it gives statements whether recorded as from the devil, opinions of its writers, strange facts relating to early biblical cultures, or speaks on any issue which it addresses. All of it is accepted by me as God's Word given to me primarily for life and as the revelation about the One who is Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the life, and the final revelation of God.
Two...I'm theologically conservative and yet have found that I agree completely and totally with NO single theologian I've read or studied, living or dead. I fully expect this to be true for the rest of my journey. I'm also continuing to discover how I sometimes mistakenly interpreted the text concerning some of the non-salvific issues found in scripture. Which interpretation I accepted early on and had to adjust later in my bible study journey as I restudied those texts and this too will continue I'm sure.
Three...I'm convinced that most Southern Baptists are woefully ignorant of relational principles that are essential for building good human relationships and are, therefore, basically lacking in good healthy human relationships.
Four...I believe that relational principles are valid for life and are good for Christians to know even if they are not specifically stipulated or stated in scripture, as long as they do not violate scripture or are taught as if they are as sacred as scripture. In other words, any relational principle one might learn need not be viewed as an enemy just because it is not declared in the bible. But they are not to be viewed as sacred either. Just helpful if we choose to pay attention to them.
You may be thinking, "Why the disclaimer?"
It is because sometimes people who talk or write about human relationship in terms of relational principles are thought of as being unbiblical in their approach, or worse, being anti-scriptural, talking in psychological mumbo-jumbo, heretical, and a host of other less than Christian labels that have been used. So, I've identified who I am and what I believe from the start. Now reread the four points previously written if you choose. They will make a little more sense perhaps.
All this because my next post is going to deal with the relational principle of boundaries which, when first heard by a Christian, may sound as if it is unchristian to the core. It did to me a few years ago. I couldn't reconcile it with my view of a Christian serving God and people. I certainly couldn't reconcile it with my view of a crucified self and the scriptures telling me to turn the other cheek and when compelled to go a mile...go the extra mile... by choice for crying out loud. Boundaries? I didn't think so.
But what brought about a different way of thinking was when I discovered that some of my ways of being a servant to others were not really loving THEM at all and were, in fact, doing great damage to them. I also discovered, much to my dismay, that some of the service I was doing as a Christian was actually for MYSELF and not for others as I tried to think or project. When I put that in my pipe and smoked it [not literally, just my metaphor for contemplation], I had to do some heavy evaluating about my life as a Christian and a follower of Jesus.
This last statement segues into my final thought.
It was when I discovered that Jesus had boundaries in His relationships with people that set me to thinking in a new way. Boy, was that an eye-opener. While the scriptures don't speak of boundaries specifically, I found that Jesus modeled such in His own life. He never seemed to make a choice that was because someone else had made a bad choice. His choices seemed to be genuinely independent of whatever someone else wanted or desired in the moment. He wasn't pressured into them. His motives for what He chose to do were higher than that and maybe even of a different kind than that.
So He was, it seemed to me, never a victim of circumstances even those that damaged Him or at the mercy of the actions of other people. He never seemed to act out of desperation or because if He didn't do SOMETHING others might be hurt, suffer pain, or suffer some kind of discomfort. Yet He never seemed to NOT love or NOT care for others or NOT have the actual best interest of others at heart.
His actions certainly seemed to me to be above the realm of having been done so He personally would not be the cause of others having an uncomfortable experience in life. His choices seemed to be determined by what, in fact, He saw as something the Father intended for Him. There was a greater something in view than being at the whim and mercy of others' plight. What was it about Him in human relationships?
It was almost as if Jesus always took a divine step of applying the proverbial oxygen mask [of life] to Himself BEFORE He ever attempted to get others to see and experience their need for an oxygen mask [of life]. Any frequent flyer will understand that, but few of us seem to understand it relationally.
Jesus did apparently understand it and what I saw and came to understanding about Him I will attempt to explain in this thing of boundaries. I will attempt to show how boundaries will help us in having REAL relationships in our marriage, family, with friends, and even in the Church, that are graceful, respectful and healthy. Which may just be another way of saying Christlike.
That post next time.