How to Set Boundaries and Serve Others

Two of my four sisters were visiting for my Mom's 80th birthday celebration this weekend. It was a really wonderful time of celebrating our Mom and visiting with each other.

As we were chatting yesterday, we were discussing how it can sometimes seem like a contradiction to set boundaries with people and be a servant (as Jesus was) at the same time. It got me thinking . . . a lot of us swing from one extreme to the other, either serving too many people or staying in a toxic relationship too long, or cutting off too many people too much.

In Scripture, when we read the entire Bible in context, we see the proper balance. We see how Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, taking on the role of a servant to model this servanthood for them. We also see Jesus allowing a woman to anoint his feet with a very expensive perfume and then wipe them with her hair. What a wonderful balance Jesus shows us of giving AND receiving. There are times for both.

We see Jesus feeding thousands, teaching many, and healing scores of sick or disabled people all throughout His ministry. By the same token, we also see Jesus slipping away into the wilderness to pray alone, sometimes for many days. The alone time He spent with His Father gave Him His direction and renewed His body and soul.

We see scenes where Jesus forgave people who had been living a lifestyle of sin (the prostitute who was almost stoned) and in addition to forgiving them, Jesus also said, "go and sin no more". True love gives grace AND says the hard truths at the same time. Truth in love.

We see stories of Jesus calling the hypocritical politicians and leaders of His day "white washed sepulchers", "fools," and "blind guides". Jesus saw evil and called it out, He did not stay silent.

In all of these and many other Biblical examples, we see how Jesus modeled speaking truth in love, calling out evil, correcting and rebuking, and forgiving. The more I read the Word, the more balanced and healthy I become in setting healthy boundaries while serving others with a caring heart.

Above all, each of us needs to search the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to show us, in each unique situation, how to set healthy boundaries while serving others. God will be faithful to guide you to do what you need to do in each individual relationship or situation.

"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5

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