Setting Boundaries For Yourself and Others!

Setting Boundaries For Yourself and Others!

As Christians, we are commanded to help those in need and the less fortunate. That is an important part of the spiritual path in Christianity. However, is it ever okay to say no and set boundaries sometimes?

God knows we are finite beings and we get exhausted, stressed, etc. Yes, we should love our neighbour as ourselves as scripture commands but that scripture tells us to love ourselves. Scripture tells us that even God the Creator of the universe and all things in it rested. So even if God rested then surely there is nothing wrong with taking time out?

Why do we say yes to situations when sometimes we need to say no? According to the website ‘Psych Central’:

1) We seek approval. Many of us say yes because we’ve created a scenario that forces us to say yes. If I seek outside approval to feel good about myself when someone asks me to do something, I may be obligated.

2) The golden rule – do unto others. You help others because that’s what you hope others would do for you.

3) You may be a caregiver type. You practice saviour behaviour. People always come to you when in a jam. You always put out fires.

4) You fear you’ll lose that person. You fear being rejected and abandoned.

5) If you say no and set boundaries, you’ll have an argument that sends a shockwave upsetting folks you care about.

Sometimes people are in abusive relationships either knowingly or unknowingly. For example, that can be at work, at school, at uni, with family members, and with friends. It’s a situation of fear where the abuser probably realizes what they are doing. For the victims, it’s the same scenario they realize they are being abused or they do not, it’s that simple.

If a person does not respect your right to say no or set boundaries occasionally, they do not respect you. They see you as a free ticket to always being there and solving their problems. However, given the pace of life today and all the uncertainties that go with it, you cannot do that. If they value you when you do refuse them on occasion they will understand and respect that. So that next time when you do say yes they will appreciate you being there for them. If on the other hand, they have a problem with you saying no or setting boundaries occasionally the problem is with them. You cannot be held responsible for how people react to you and once you realize that you will have more contentment. As a famous prayer says: you must realize the things you can control and cannot, and know the difference.

The world is an ungodly place where situations arise and where devious people will take advantage of you. We have all been in situations, relationships of varying kinds, where we have been hurt, exploited, etc. As Christians, we always put ourselves on the line for others and part of that is sometimes being hurt. Look at Jesus: he set boundaries and said no when he needed to rest. There are plenty of examples in the New Testament of him doing this. When situations became unbearable Jesus would often be alone and seek his Father’s advice. This as followers of the way should be our raison d’etre too. In this world, Jesus gave us a great piece of advice “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wise serpents and innocent as doves”.

Finally, as always scripture comes to our aid in the subject matter of this blog:

Matt 5:37: “Let what you be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ anything else is evil”.

2 Tim 1:7: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”.

Proverbs 27:12: “The prudent sees danger and hides, but the simple go on and suffer it”.

God bless you.

Nick x


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