This is the seventh day of the Love Blog Challenge,
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/11: Boundaries
For most of my life, I lived within pretty strict boundaries, separating me from others who may have had more “loosey-goosey” ideas about God’s will, the Bible, morality, and sinfulness. It created pretty deep divides – maybe not unfriendly, but certainly immovable.
What made it even worse was that within those boundary walls, we built up a little hill, allowing us to stand just a bit above those outside. Not like we were towering over them, but high enough that we could look past them. Good golly, Miss Molly.
But recently, being around some pretty remarkable people, I’ve been slowly breaking down those boundaries and walls, flattening out the elevation. I’ve realized how maybe those boundaries did more than identify my relationship to God and to people – they seemed to define those relationships.
These often generational and more often man-made boundaries were reaching waaaaay beyond my three Essentials – the non-negotiable truths that simply and boldly declare what I believe. These rigid demands were, in fact, weakening and minimizing the Essentials, those words of Jesus that remain the same in every single situation…
…”I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.” (John 14:6)
…”Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” (Luke 10:27)
…”Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:33)
The boundaries I grew up with often kept me from hearing right from God, as I allowed others to filter His will and His Word and accepted those interpretations without question. Questions about:
- When we fight for life, do we, can we, should we decide which lives are more worthy of protection and care than others? For whose lives are we willing to go to the mat?
- When we speak of love, how can we see inside the heart? How do we dare declare that some love is wrong?
- How do we choose our leaders? Can we really know what issues are the most important to God? Can one person claim to be “the one?”
These are questions for which I have ideas and strong opinions. They are difficult. And they have been and will be difficult for generations.
Yes, I have ideas and opinions. But answers? Nope.
And for these questions and many like them, I don’t believe anyone has the answers. I don’t think this side of Heaven we will find out what God thinks – and even then, I’m not sure we will bother asking.
I will protect my faith, my non-negotiable Essentials forever. I cannot think of anyone or anything that could convince me they are not worth fighting for. I hope, I pray I can live up to this resolve.
But, my lovelies, the line drawn around me, the one Jesus drew, that line is eternal. It keeps me safe, no matter what questions or accusations are hurled from those who think they know.
And the response God expects from us – all of us – when we are challenged about what we believe and how we answer questions, is simply love your neighbor as yourself. And, by neighbor I’m thinking He means the entire world.
Boundaries are really important. They keep us safe. They make things clear.
But they are not an excuse to neglect love. They do not give us permission to ignore or dismiss those with whom we do not find common ground. Even the ones with the loosiest-of-goosey ideas.
Photo by Paul Codling on Unsplash
Thank you for opening up about this. It’s often very difficult to be prompted by the Holy Spirit in a direction that goes against what our community considers the acceptable standard and often have to live through the backlash, but there is no us vs them for the God who left the 99 to find the 1 sheep…
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Oh, thank you, Alessia, for the affirmation. I so wish I had been more brave and willing to listen to voices others than those who sang the same notes for all of my life… as if they had Christianity finally figured out – and we could all just get in line. Yes, the 99 and 1 is of such great comfort… xoxox