By Kathi Pelton
I want to first speak to all of those who are wired in a way that grace and mercy is your “go to” first response. This is a beautiful gift needed throughout the body of Christ and yet you may struggle with knowing how to place healthy boundaries on your gift of extending grace.
If that is you— I understand! I am a peace maker, grace giver and very mercy motivated. Yet, this strength can also be my greatest weakness because it can easily be taken for granted and used for someone else’s selfish gain. This is where boundaries come in— setting boundaries are not only helpful to you but to those around you.
The problem with those who have the grace to be “long suffering” is that we can often go too long! It is easy to become co-dependent or give grace when God is being a good Father by extending discipline. Discipline is good and the momentary pain that accompanies it may be the segue to freedom and abundant life for the son or daughter receiving his discipline.
It is often difficult for the mercy motivated person to allow another to experience pain, discomfort or discipline— even when it is exactly what is needed. You may have to remind yourself to set personal boundaries and to partner with God when he is loving one of his children with correction and discipline.
Have you ever been in a home where one parent is a good disciplinarian and the other parent is usurping that needed tool in healthy child development? It leaves the child confused and teaches them to learn the tools of manipulation by using the weakness of their one parent to gain their way and to divide dad and mom. The child only learns how to cross boundaries and how to use people for their selfish gain. It’s not grace but grevious.
It is so important to know how to set boundaries that can easily be crossed with those who carry this compassion gift. I personally have to stop from time to time in order to evaluate relationships, my life and all that is happening around me. I have to allow Holy Spirit to weigh and measure what I am extending to others. This helps to assure me that my propensity to extend grace hasn’t overflowed into usurping what God wants to do in another’s life.
I will often know when that has begun to happen because other’s “issues” will begin spilling over into my life with a sense of violation— that is always my wake up moment when I must redefine healthy boundaries (for my sake and the sake of others). It is a discipline that I must embrace in order to stay in unity with God’s balanced ways.
Have you felt that your personal life has been polluted by those who refuse to work out their salvation? If you are working harder for someone than they are working for themselves then it is probably time to set up some boundaries. You may be standing in the way of their personal growth. You may be blocking them from the pain that produces maturity and character. And you may be usurping the discipline of the Father who knows what they need.
I recently did a “reset” of boundaries. Because I am a public voice and many have access to me in one form or another— these moments of reset are not only important for me but for those that I minister to. In these reset moments I have to intentionally press pause and sit with Holy Spirit to allow him to search me and my life. I want to be in alignment with every aspect of who he is. In his faithfulness he will show me where lines are crossed or where I am not aligned with the boundaries lines of his love.
I encourage you to have Spirit led reset times no matter how you are wired! You may be justice oriented— you too will need to know the boundaries of where your justice has begun to usurp his justice in thoughts and action. You may be a strong visionary— if so, you may need to stop and let Holy Spirit place boundaries and proper alignments upon your gift so that you are only doing what he is doing. We all need reset times where we allow the Spirit of God to rebuild our boundary lines where human propensities have crossed Godly wisdom.
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. Psalm 16:5-6
May the boundary lines of the Lord fall for you in pleasant places that bring you joy!
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