CLERGY CORNER: With boundaries comes freedom

Posted on 13 June 2019 by LeslieM

My wife and I recently vacationed in Myrtle Beach, SC. Upon entering the condo, we immediately headed for the covered balcony to get our first glimpse of the South Carolina coast. Without even thinking, we leaned our weight against the handrail of the balcony located on the 11th floor! Those were the first minutes of many hours we spent on that balcony. We even let our 22-month-old granddaughter play on the balcony. One day, it occurred to me that none of us would sit on the patio, much less let an infant play out there, without the presence of the handrail. That handrail was a boundary that provided us with the peace of mind to freely enjoy the beautiful view from the balcony.
I had a similar experience many years ago when our children were young. We bought a house on a canal, and the yard was not fenced when we moved in. We noticed that our children would go only from the back door to the swing set and back. They never wandered near the water, nor to the sides of the yard. We eventually put a fence around our back yard and noticed that our children started using the entire back yard. They went down to the fence line at the canal and also began venturing toward the neighbors houses on each side of us. Again, it dawned on me… by defining the boundary, it gave a sense of security for our kids. It kept good things in, bad things out, and gave freedom to use the entire backyard, rather than only a small portion of it.
While some would argue that boundaries restrict freedom, the truth is that boundaries expand our freedoms and protect our interests. Within the boundaries of marriage, couples create confidence, establish trust, learn the art of partnership, experience greater happiness, increase their emotional health, enjoy guilt-free sex … and all of this without looking over their shoulder, worrying about STDs or wrestling with emotional pain and guilt. Traffic boundaries also illustrate the point. By staying between the painted lines (boundaries), a vehicle will most often reach its destination without incident. Athletes try to keep their feet in bounds; businesses operate within the boundaries of the law and governments protect those who live within their borders.
Establishing personal boundaries is a healthy part of life. Dating boundaries help maintain purity. Physical boundaries help protect against abuse. Intellectual boundaries allow opinions to be shared respectfully. Emotional boundaries keep us from personalizing everything. Digital boundaries help us avoid pornography, gossip sites, cyber bullying or even attempting to impress others by embellishing our posts on social media.
The spiritual boundaries found in the Bible are also there for our protection. Just as God set boundaries for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Bible reveals boundaries for daily living. Loving God first (Matt 22:36-38), loving others second (Matt 22:39-40) and following the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17) are good places to start. The Bible discusses boundaries regarding doctrine, conduct, friendships, business partnerships, relationships, work/rest, idols and so much more. God loves us enough to set boundaries that protect us and that allow us to enjoy life to the fullest. The bottom-line is that the boundaries established by God do not restrict our lives, they enhance it (John 10:10).
Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Lead Pastor at Grace Church (501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach). Contact info: 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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