Do you find it difficult to love others? Do you take responsibility for other’s feelings and behaviors? Do you lack freedom over the choices you make and feel controlled by internal struggles or someone else’s manipulation? If so, there is a good chance you are lacking healthy boundaries. If you grew up in a home of abuse or a home where healthy boundaries were not in place you may find it difficult to set healthy boundaries as an adult. We do not know what we do not know, and you cannot do what you do not know to do.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 Talks about love, what it is and what it is not. If we don’t know what love is how are we going to determine if we are being loved and if we are loving others? In these scriptures we see where God has set some boundaries in place so we can distinguish between what love is and is not. Healthy boundaries promote genuine connection with others. If we are going to freely love others, we must have healthy boundaries. Love is and should be shown both inside and outside of romantic relationships. One way to determine if you are freely loving is to look at how you treat others. Do you freely give to others who need your help? Do you help those who may never be able to return the favor? Do you look past your self-preservation and do what will benefit someone else even at the risk of being unappreciated or disappointed?
A practical application is to replace the word love, in the above scriptures, with your name. Is there any area where you can improve? Is there any area where you are not loving by God’s standard? Are you patient? Are you kind? Do you keep a record of wrong? This exercise presents an opportunity for growth. Changing the way you love and setting boundaries in regards to how you expect to be loved may not be easy, but be encouraged because you can do hard things.