Boundaries part II
I know we just talked about boundaries the other day, but I spoke with a friend today who asked me how to handle a tenant situation she has as a Believer. She conveyed that her natural disposition is very go with the flow and accommodating, but she felt anger in this particular instance and wasn’t sure what the Jesus response was.
I told her Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That implies that we love ourselves, and part of loving ourselves is maintaining well defined boundaries in relationships. Boundaries are how we communicate our expectations and cultivate respect between one another. When we allow our boundaries to be violated, we are not loving ourselves, but are disregarding what makes us feel safe, confident and respected within a relationship.
Our unexpressed feelings of being violated breeds insecurity, suspicion and offense in our hearts. This means our capacity to act in love toward our neighbor is greatly hindered, and we will resort to maintaining relationship out of fear and obligation. Eventually, the resentment gets too great and like a puffball mushroom, the smallest amount of interaction will cause us to explode with the rotten spores of enmity, and we will become the very thing we were attempting to avoid by allowing our boundaries to be violated in the first place.
In order to treat others with respect, you must respect yourself.
In order to value others, you must value yourself.
By understanding the height, depth, and breadth of how beloved you are, you will be able recognize the Image of God in others and honor them as you honor yourself. From that place, when flexibility is required in your relationships, and it will be, instead of feeling trampled on, you will you be able to voluntarily yield your desires for the sake of building up the other person. Not because you feel obligated to keep peace or you want to avoid conflict but because you are able to love them as you love yourself.