Good Fences

Parents teach us early on, “Good fences make good neighbors.” In other words, keeping boundaries is necessary in any good relationship. As you grow into an independent adult, you learn that you have responsibility for your time, talent, and treasure. You may give your life away, however, you cannot give away what you do not possess. Your life and your thoughts are yours; you are responsible for your relationships.

You are sovereign over your world, within limits. That is, you should not violate the boundaries of others. That’s what it means to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” You have an obligation to love others as you love yourself. So we mutually welcome our closest friends and neighbors into our world. This is God’s design.

Conflicts arise when there’s confusion about our God given boundaries, when someone crosses over into a territory where they have not been invited. When someone judges you for how you spend your time or how you spend your money, they are setting themselves up in your territory.

What’s worse is when you become a judge over the very ones who came to you with the Good News of Jesus Christ, the ones who declared the sovereignty, freedom, and dignity God designed for you.

Have you become a judge over your parents or your spiritual leaders? If they are loving leaders, they have a right to call you back to right relationships, even as they hope that the fruit of your life will produce many other right relationships to the glory of God.

“We aren’t making outrageous claims here. We’re sticking to the limits of what God has set for us. But there can be no question that those limits reach to and include you. We’re not moving into someone else’s “territory.” We were already there with you, weren’t we? We were the first ones to get there with the Message of Christ, right? So how can there be any question of overstepping our bounds by writing or visiting you?”

2 Corinthians 10:13-14 MSG

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