Recently God has been using two books, Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and Soul Care by Dr. Rob Reimer, to teach me that I am still a work in progress. Some days I succeed and some days I fail. Through the Holy Spirit, my goal is to bring God glory in all that I do, say and think.
In Boundaries, there are illustrations on how living with boundaries is necessary to protect one’s good and keep out the bad. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? Yes, he bandaged the injured victim of a robbery, found a safe lodging for him, and found a caring person to help the injured person recover. Let’s imagine a little…but what if the injured person insisted that the Good Samaritan stay and take care of him until he recovered? Maybe the Good Samaritan was on the road traveling to a business appointment to broker a camel trade? Staying with the injured man might have ruined the Good Samaritan’s business deal that allowed him to be generous and pay for the injured person’s expenses at the lodge. Maybe missing the business appointment would have caused the Good Samaritan to become bitter towards the injured/recovering man who might have ruined his source of income to be able to provide for his own family’s expenses?
Another example used in the book was when Jesus, on several occasions, had to leave the crowds that came for healing. Jesus went away to be in solitude with God the Father to recuperate and de-stress.
A lesson I’m dealing with is that being a Christian doesn’t mean I’m a doormat. I don’t have to ignore my feelings of being used, becoming angry, and being frightened. I am responsible to take care of my own stuff and others are responsible to take care of their own stuff. I am responsible for protecting what’s “good” in me and to keep out the “bad” from me.
It’s not ok for someone to verbally curse me; I’m not someone’s kicking board. Yes, I will forgive him/her in the name of Jesus. I will not get caught in the anger/curse trap which can cause me to fester in anger and say curses. In my prayer time, I will pray blessings for that person because Jesus says to pray for my enemy…a challenge posed again to me by the book Soul Care. When a person starts on an angry tirade, it’s ok for me to leave. I can say, “I’ll love to talk to you when you are in a better mood. Let’s talk later. I’ll love to help you. But I can’t right now.” It’s ok to leave an unhealthy situation.
When someone is used to interacting with me in an unhealthy way and I start to stand up for myself, I will experience backlash. But that’s why it’s important to surround myself with a Godly community that will walk with me.
I am not that person’s savior. Maybe that person will figure out that they need professional help. I will not be able to control the other person’s response to my action in protecting myself. Maybe that person might fabricate lies to mutual friends about me, to hurt me or to gain control of me. I don’t need to respond to gossip. I don’t need to play into the “he said / she said” trap. I do need to surround myself with a Godly community that believes and walks in the Holy Spirit. My words need to be wise, truthful and loving. I need to remember that I am a child of God, not a slave to sin.
Living and learning….someone in the SJCAC community.