Welcome to Day 20 of #write31days!
For more information check out the series’ page.
As good and hard-working people and friends we obviously want to do our jobs well and be there for our friends. Our Christian faith commands us to love others – isn’t it egoistic to set boundaries then?
Lie #4: Setting Boundaries is unbiblical and selfish
If you talk to non-Christian friends around you what Christianity is all about they’ll probably give you one word: love. Probably one of the most overused and yet underrated words in your society, bashed in media and politics. “Those Christians” are supposed to love everyone.
If you go to church on Sunday or listen closely to sermons and Christian songs; if you browse Christian media you’ll find one slogan: We must love each other because we’ve been loved first. The brothers and sisters in our congregations, the people in our neighborhoods, the refugees flooding our countries – they all deserve our attention and help. In the Bible we can read to bear each other’s burdens, to love others like we love ourselves, so let’s do that.
These are the voices we hear around us. We’re supposed to love, care, and bear – so what if we want to set boundaries? How about that other voice saying “You can’t set boundaries. Saying NO is not biblical, it’s just a selfish move. You choose to care more about yourself than to love others.”
What do we do with these voices? Are the boundaries we set selfish and unbiblical?
I believe the Bible is true, love is the key.
Often underrated in its original form, it can truly make a difference. Love is the thing that can set us apart, that can turn lives around, that can shine light into the darkness.
I also believe that our love’s supposed to be practical. Let’s support each other by listening, helping out, spending time and effort on those in need. Acting out love speaks louder than our words.
But the same Bible that commands us to love also talks about protection.
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Taking care of others, loving them unconditionally, bearing their burdens is an act of life. A helping hand is life-giving to someone else. But we’re only able to share life with all its joys and hopes when we have enough life left to give.
Imagine a basin full of water, a reservoir to provide and nourish many. But just one small leak can turn it all around. The life-giving water is running out, and eventually the abundance that was once there is gone. An empty basin can support and help no one.
You’re a basin filled with with life and many good things. You’re supposed to give and love others. But you need to protect yourself from any leaks that could come from busyness, false beliefs, pushy and demanding people.
Closing yourself off once in a while is only selfish if you choose to remain in that comfort zone, if you hide the treasures you’ve been given to share.
Withdrawing into the safety of saying NO sometimes is a necessary step to protect and recharge the abundance inside of you. Well-nourished souls will always come back stronger, more alive and more passionate to share than those running on mere reserves.
Another trap is the word “care” in itself. What does it mean to care for someone else, to love someone else?
Yes, often it means getting your hands dirty, giving someone practical help. Yes, sometimes it means taking on more work than usual to give someone relief.
Taking care does not mean taking responsibility for everything and everyone. Caring too much will ultimately not help the other person, but keep them from maturing and acting responsibly themselves. Saying NO is therefore not an act of selfish egoism, but rather a step to teach others how to be responsible. One step at a time. One NO at a time.
Is the thought of selfishness familiar to you? Where do you give more than you’re actually able to? To which people do you have to say NO in order to teach them maturity?