With six children ages six and under, my husband and I have put certain boundaries in place. Some are for safety: don’t cross the street without permission; don’t go outside without an adult supervising; don’t play with knives or run with scissors, etc. Some are for a peaceful home: stay in your own room until Poppa and Mama get up in the morning; knock on a closed door- don’t just barge in; don’t disturb someone who has requested to be alone. And some are for our own mental health: no one comes into Poppa and Mama’s bedroom without invitation. These boundaries are a reminder for children and parents alike that there is a responsible authority in the home.
There are times when the children press against the boundaries. They fuss about them and test them; they remind each other about them while personally ignoring them. My husband and I often wonder if maintaining the boundaries is worth the effort. But when we do maintain them and the children do respect them, the health, safety and peace for all is absolutely worth it- and we keep going. In the long run, we know that our children will need to be able to respect boundaries all their lives.
I have noticed a growing conversation about putting in place personal boundaries. This can be in relationships (marriage, parent-child, friends, relatives), in use of time (a balance of work and leisure), or in thought processes (putting a stop to toxic thinking, for example). People are accepting that boundaries are necessary and even good, for they help maintain healthy distance between what is destructive and what helps us thrive. Yet at the very same time there is a major shift away from the boundaries that have guarded the conscience of our land: those moral boundaries instituted by God.
Have you noticed as I have, how those boundaries that have governed our society for centuries are disappearing? Gender is one example. Suddenly, we are being told that there really is no such thing as male or female; we are told it’s all just a mindset and people can be whatever they feel. Sexual orientation is another. As long as there is love, we are told, it’s ok: adults with children, with multiple shared partners, with partners of the same sex, it is all acceptable. The sanctity of life is yet another boundary that has been eroded for decades but in recent years has made a more rapid decline. Ending life in the womb was once nonexistent in common speech, but now it’s ok to leave a baby to die in a hospital linen closet if it survives an abortion. As long as the head is the last thing to be born, a mother can choose to end her baby’s life even while birthing him.
Knowing that we are made in the image of the Almighty God, is it any wonder that the boundaries He has instated for our wellbeing would be under attack by those who wish to forget Him? Gender, marriage, and life itself are just a few of the tangible reminders of mankind’s connection to the Creator. When we are secure in our biological identity, have stable families and count sacred the essence of life, we flourish in who we are meant to be- as individuals and as a society. When we are told that our gender is fluid, sex is permissible with anyone at any time, and the value of life at any stage is conditional, we wander into dangerous territory.
It is time for us to begin fortifying once more the boundaries that safeguard our moral conscience. Our nation, our future and our very lives depend upon it. There are some boundaries that are simply non-negotiable and those are the ones that remind us that our ultimate authority is the Almighty God. One day we will all answer to Him.
Thank you for what you shared on boundaries in our homes, personal lives, in our culture, and in our world! Boundaries actually bring freedom, for within them, we can flourish, outside of them, we flounder. What you wrote reminds me of one of my favorite passages: Psalm 16:5 and 6 says, “LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely, I have a delightful inheritance.” Who could possibly know what boundaries would bring us abundant blessings instead of curses, disease, and despair? We often think we know best, treating ourselves as the authority of our own lives. Yet, who could know better than the creator God who made us, knows us inside and out, and loves us tenderly?! He who is rightfully our ultimate authority creates good boundaries. And in Him there is peace, protection, and abundant provision for all we need for life (here and the life to come).
Amen! I couldn’t agree more. It’s heartbreaking to see how the young people in our country are suffering because the adults around them are saying boundaries no longer matter.
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