Monday, September 29, 2014

An Essential Part of Love - The Need for Boundaries

Post by
Michelle Dowell, Co-Contributor

When Jesus tells us to love everyone, that means and includes respect, and one important part of respect is relational boundaries.

Some Christians believe that everyone should share every detail of their life with other Christians. A person who is okay with sharing everything about their life sometimes will pry into another person's life, possibly not realizing that each person has preferences on that and that should be respected.

It could be the over-realized eschatology that has seeped into some popular Christian thinking. If people think that everyone is perfect here and now, then if someone shares some sad part of their life or past that the other people won't judge or be weird about it. But that's the thing. Christians still judge, gossip, and aren't nice about things at times. We are all sinners the Bible says. And it's not until we are in heaven that we aren't sinners.

So it's wise for people to be careful about what they share and who they share it with, even if the person they are considering sharing details with is a Christian. It helps protect from unhelpful and sometimes relationally damaging judgement and gossip from happening.

I've heard someone say that sharing every detail with others helps others and the community realize that life and people are not perfect. They hear not perfect things in other people's life and therefore know that they are okay--bad things happen to everyone. However, there are many other ways to see and know that the world is not perfect. It doesn't have to come through "over-sharing."

We can still trust people and other Christians--it's just that trust should grow over time. Just like trusting people with job responsibilities. You trust them with little, and how they take care of little determines if you can trust them with more. And the nature of time is that we only have time to invest deeply in a small amount of relationships, so we don't have the time to develop deep relationships with everyone. Just because two people are Christians doesn't mean they automatically or will eventually be best friends. Each person is created with unique likes and a unique personality.
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