Boundaries: The Original

Sometimes, when you watch the news, you find yourself astounded by the stupidity of people. Here’s my latest example. In Puyallup, Washington, a man has been discovered renting empty homes to unsuspecting tennants– homes which did NOT belong to him —  and collecting rent from the squatters. His explanation of the scam is priceless. “I was doing it to keep up the property value.”

Yeah, right. Putting squatters into someone else’s home, collecting money on the deal, and he’s doing it as a favor. You can read more (and watch the video) here:

It’s such an obvious example of what social and psychological experts call “boundary busting,” that I can hardly believe my luck. (I love discovering great examples!) Boundary busting is nothing more than taking something (money, goods, time, attention, etc) that does not belong to you. The best boundary busters take from you by pressuring you into going along with the scheme. That kind of pressure can come from vague threats, from bribery, from fear of consequences, from withdrawing affection or “love.” The most obvious boundary busters are like our property “manager” here, who took over someone else’s property without so much as a “by your leave.”

So. What does that have to do with us? Well, I’m back to the beginning of the Bible.

And, I discover there, the very first recorded boundary in history. “But the Lord God gave him this warning: ‘You may eat freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you et of its fruit, you will surely die.’

A boundary.

God says, “You may go this far, and no farther.”

Interesting, isn’t it? So many believers think we should give, give, give, until we are worn out, wiped out, discouraged, and eventually frustrated and angry. They use all kinds of New Testament passages to excuse their behavior. “I have to give myself away. After all, isn’t that what Jesus asks of us?”


Like most truths, this one is only half true.  While Jesus does illustrate the selfless life, he “showed” us the focused life. He didn’t preach to everyone. He didn’t heal everyone. He rested when he needed it. He listened before he took action. He spoke to, and about only those things he was called to address. He knew where he belonged and where he didn’t. He knew what jobs were his and which weren’t. And he was wise enough to say, “this far and no farther.”

God said it. Jesus lived it.

We could learn a little here. Have you ever considered that God himself has boundaries? Do you? Do you ever struggle with saying no? When? What have you done to strengthen your own “no” muscle?

Think about it? Bette

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