The Importance of Boundaries
Imagine driving in heavy traffic, and each vehicle squeezes around any way they fit. Edge lines, solid lines, and yellow lines are all ignored as drivers “flex” their way through. Can you imagine the chaos?
While The Importance of Flexibility warned against sorting people into “good” or “bad” based on appearances, it’s equally important to have boundaries.
Salvation is like the yellow line in the center of a highway. We either depend completely on Jesus or we don’t. Those who do can be expected to grow increasingly like Him — showing love, grace, patience, forgiveness, self-control, etc. Those who don’t can be expected to look like the rest of the world — showing selfishness, apathy, hard-heartedness, etc. Either group can be generous, frustrated, and every emotion between, but the direction of a life will flow from this core decision: Who do you trust for your eternity? Which side of God’s yellow line are you on?
Traffic moving the same direction also has white lines. We may move at different paces and change lanes from time to time, but healthy flow depends on staying between the lines. Flexibility within boundaries.
Loving God as God means we don’t dabble with other alleged deities. Other travelers may still be exploring their options, but if you try to bring another guidance system into your journey, you’re inviting a wreck. Taking God seriously means we recognize there’s only one God, so where (or who) else is there to look to?
Loving our neighbors means we tell them the truth. Those who haven’t committed their lives to Jesus may cheat on their taxes, their time-cards, or their spouses. We can’t expect they’ll drive north in a southbound lane. But we’re not loving them if we don’t tell them that Jesus has a higher goal for them, that they can be free from their angst and guilt, and that they can be confident about eternity. If someone’s driving toward disaster, why not show them the exit ramp?
Loving other Christians means we support one another in our commitment. We study together, digging into how every scripture may help us be increasingly like Jesus. We encourage one another, sometimes with comfort for grief and sometimes with challenges for growth. We love enough to share news of the road and its potholes. When it’s dark and rainy, how nice is it to be surrounded by extra lights?
Loving ourselves means we follow God’s individual plan for our life. Don’t follow another too closely or too long, or their hazards may become yours. Resist the pressure to be pushed to a different lane or an unintended exit. Since God has planned all the pit stops, rest stops, and scenic overlooks, why not follow His guidance and enjoy the adventure?
True love doesn’t flex beyond the boundaries. It’s the concrete wall that blocks the sliding edge of a cliff. It’s the detour sign before the missing bridge. It’s the friend who takes keys from someone not suited to drive.
Be flexible, within boundaries.