Someone rented an annex from this old yet incredibly beautiful but lonely lady. Out of her loneliness and perhaps given the restrictions of age in continuing life the way she used to live she would dominate and control the tenant’s every move and decision. Wanting to let steam the tenant reached out to the mutual friend only to hear that a Christians should be patient and show love to this poor lonely lady to make her happy. The tenant asked the friend whether the friend loved her children that same way – i.e. whether she would dance to their tune without disciplining them. Of course the answer was no… it was simply double standards, after all isn’t it easy to advise others to be “loving”.
Christians often feel that being a door mat is the way to demonstrate love – to agree to everything that is asked of them. Those who fall prey to abusers – whether it be emotional abuse where they are belittled and condemned and eternally picked on and even perhaps sweared at, economical abuse, physical abuse (violence etc), sexual abuse which also includes vulgarity and spiritual abuse (whereby so called Christian authoritarian “leaders” expect unquestioned obedience to them instead of encouraging them to walk in the way God has ordained for them) – stay put as it’s being ‘humble’ and ‘submissive’.
Do you not know who you are in Christ? You are God’s child created in His image and His likeness! Whether you are rich or poor, and whatever your nationality, ethnicity, race, economic class, social ‘status’, position, education it doesn’t matter. You are special… You are a part of the Body of Christ where ALL parts are EQUAL. None is higher than the other.
In fact the Bible tells those who believe in Him,
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy – 1 Peter 2:9-10
If you believe that you are indeed a people belonging to God created in His likeness and a royal priesthood (note that ALL who believe are priests and thus leaders), then you will also realise that you are special. If you knew that, you wouldn’t allow people to treat you poorly… (True, God will deal with them). What you choose to do with your life is your business… God gives you freewill but He yearns for you to walk in HIS perfect will for YOUR life – not to please your family or friends or even “Christian leaders” living how THEY want you to live… Allowing them to control you is disobeying God. Besides loving the abuser means standing firm so that YOU DON”T FEED INTO the behavioural problems of the abuser. Else you are also a part of the sin as it takes two to tango. It is a similar concept to offering drugs to a drug addict or buying alcohol for an alcoholic.
At the same time Jesus tells us to be as “harmless as doves”, He also tells us to be as “shrewd as serpents”. Boundaries are crucial.
Loving means speaking the truth in love, loving means showing one’s fault in private (and of course if they don’t listen Matthew 18 outlines the steps), loving means DISCIPLINING too. God’s disciplining of the ones He loves as a father disciplines his legitimate children is crystal clear throughout the Bible. He also urges us to discipline children. Of course when we speak the ‘truth’ in love to another, we should also realise that ‘judging’ entails making an assumption and not trying to understand by asking the right questions. God doesn’t see the appearances but He looks into the heart.
On the other hand, if someone’s boundaries are so rigid that everything has to be THEIR way or the highway, then there is indeed a problem. It doesn’t matter who these people are – they could even be leaders or pastors or ministers… This shows CONTROL, it’s abusive. In fact it’s obvious that these “Christians” don’t know Christ personally, they do not have an intimate relationship with God and they obviously haven’t experienced God’s grace. Some boundaries are built so rigidly out of fear to reach out and relate. However, God calls us to LOVE, to have RELATIONSHIP.
A person with healthy boundaries will respect the boundaries of another and will not lord it over the other.. there will be communication and adaptability so that there is a ‘win-win’ situation. A believer who loves God, will also increasingly love his/her neighbour… One who knows who he/she is in Christ will also see others in the same shoes. If a person has to ‘label’ or ‘condemn’ another, then it’s safe to say that he/she hasn’t experienced GRACE let alone truly understood his/her own identity in Christ. The Good Samaritan is a classic example of crossing boundaries and Jesus Christ MODELLED the way overstepping many boundaries so that we will be reached and touched by His LOVE.
The walk of the believer entails living by two sides of the coin that go hand in hand,
which cannot be separated – TRUTH and GRACE.
People can proclaim to be Christians – but could be uttering empty words. It is possible to fool others for a time and a season but it cannot be hidden in the long run!
The Christian should resemble a fruit tree, not a Christmas tree!
For the gaudy decorations of a Christmas tree are only tied on, whereas fruit grows on a fruit tree. – John R. W. Stott
As a believer grows in the Lord, he/she would increasingly have intimacy with the Father, be led by the Holy Spirit to walk along the NARROW path knowing that Jesus Christ who died on the cross to bridge the gap by saving our sins is continually interceding (standing in the gap) for us. The fruit of the Spirit is thus increasingly evident.. A person who belittles or dictates or controls another isn’t exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit is not by our own works but by how much we are allowing the Holy Spirit to take over.
LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS & SELF CONTROL,
Boundaries are important but not to the extent that they have us bound.