Sunday, June 24, 2012

Setting Boundaries

Joyce Meyer said it best when she said, "When we give in to fear we always run away from something we should be confronting." For years I gave in to fear. I allowed it to come in and control my life. I allowed it to build a fortress around me, and I ran every chance I got from the things that I needed to confront and take charge of. Sadly, I feared almost everything, and in so doing caused many people to have very little respect for me. I lived in a constant state of oppression. I didn't stand up for myself because I didn't want to "rock the boat."

I had been conditioned that if I didn't "obey" everyone, I would "get in trouble." I continued this into adulthood. I neglected to set boundaries for those in my family, for my friends, and acquaintances. Now, there are those who, when you stand up to them, will use that as ammunition to attack you more. These are the people who only cause divisions and problems, and these are the people we need to distance ourselves from. 

"Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause dissensions and obstacles contrary to the doctrine you have learned. Avoid them, for such people do not serve our Lord Christ but their own appetites. They deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting with smooth talk and flattering words." ~Romans 16:17-18 (HCSB)

By distancing yourself from oppressive people often causes them to lash out at you more. However, by staying away from them, you have set your boundaries. You have let them know that, 1) God is first in your life; 2) You will not allow these people to control your life; and 3) You will not allow them to use you as the chopping block to make themselves look better. Yes, they will cut you to shreds behind your back. However, you do not have to listen to them, and whatever they say about you will eventually come back on them.

"I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." ~Matthew 12:36-37 (HCSB)

People who are oppressive speak the true nature of their hearts. If they try to control others with manipulation, intimidation, and oppression, these are people to stay away from. Before you totally remove yourself from these people though, you need to make sure that they know where you stand. Make sure that you explain to them, "Look, I love you but, I will not allow you to put me down and call me names no matter how much you say you are joking. It is hurtful. If you want me to respect you, you must respect me in return. If you can't accept this, then I cannot be around you.

I will tell you up front, some people you can do this with. Others, you cannot. You know the people in your life better than anyone. Sometimes, to confront those who oppress you only causes more arguments and more ridicule for you. Some of them will have no idea that they've been hurting you. It might just be a healing for the both of you. 

No matter your situation, always put Christ first and trust Him to help you through your situations. It's always good to pray first, then confront. Let the Holy Spirit give you the words to say. Do it gently, in a Godly manner, and in love. Set your boundaries and regardless of how others treat you, they will know where you stand, and the Lord will back you up.



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