After a difficult week dealing with a problematic pet and while noticing other issues, I share in this teaching video some truths I have come into along my journeys. This week in particular seems to be crying out for such truths! Watch the video or continue reading to learn more!
In our American culture and even the Christian culture, we tend to be confused on the importance of boundaries and what love looks like. We tend to equate love with tolerance and rebel against structure, laws, and boundaries in general not wanting to offend or judge others in matters. Just look at our society today. Look at our churches, our schools, our homes, and our individual lives. We have become chaos and confusion under the guise of peace and safety…under the terms of tolerance and love.
Boundaries are essentially a defined space, defined rights, responsibilities, or terms providing a healthy environment to genuinely respect and love one another. An illustration of such boundaries and their purpose would be the laws of the road. These laws, such as the speed limit, lines of a lane, red lights, traffic signs, destination signs, etc all are boundaries that when abided by or adhered to or followed allow for each of us to safely and peaceably reach our destination. Other forms of boundaries are fences, walls, doors, gates, usernames and passwords, contracts, lease agreements, and other legal terms. Boundaries define our rights and responsibilities…what is expected of each of us in order to operate in a respectful, loving, safe, and peaceful manner.
Likewise, God has boundaries. In fact, He is the original and ultimate author of boundaries. His laws are His ways and His will, which we can find throughout the holy Scriptures, namely throughout the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The rest of Scripture, including the lives of many before, but especially, Jesus Christ or Yeshua, in His Hebrew name, helped demonstrate the meaning and purpose of God’s boundaries.
Furthermore, without God’s Torah, or boundaries..His written Voice, we would have no understanding of right and wrong, clean and unclean, holy and unholy and so forth (Romans 7:7; 15:14; 1 John 3:4). We would not even be able to accept God’s grace without God’s definition of sin found in His word. Unfortunately, many have fallen for the great deception that God’s laws no longer apply for we are under grace, twisting Paul’s words to fit their rebellious hearts (2 Peter 3:14-18), but Scriptures reveal *because* of God’s grace and subsequent acceptance of His gift of grace..His promise, which is God’s Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:8; Acts 1:4-5; 2:38-39), He will cause us to submit to God’s laws (Ezekiel 36:27; Jeremiah 31:31-33), not do away with them (Matthew 5:17; Romans 7:7,12), which is rebellion, sin, and bluntly speaking, witchcraft (I Samuel 15)!
Moreover, we have adopted the false notion that we should not discern nor speak out against what God defines as unholy, unclean, unrighteous. In our cowardness and complacency in our freedoms of faith in this country, we have succumbed to remaining silent captive to the deceiving chain of not wanting to judge others. It has been taught to many of us in Christian circles that to judge others is to not demonstrate love. But what does Scripture actually say about judging one another? Could discernment, judgment, and action be a form of love in God’s eyes? Let’s take a look together!
Tough love is a form of true love.
While most of today’s Christian culture eagerly propagates passages and doctrines of God’s abundant love, prosperity, and purpose to serve humans, the Scriptures within context, have a more balanced perspective. While God is a merciful, forgiving, and gracious holy God, who most certainly abundantly loves, He also is just. For without His justice, He could not be Holy, nor forgiving and gracious. Many fail to comprehend that tough love is a required form of true love. In fact, by remaining silent, doing nothing, in the name of grace, only further enables, approves, and reproduces the unholy, unjust sin that circumnavigates our globe readily. In other words, there is a fine line between exhibiting gracious acts and exhibiting grievous acts.
There is a fine line between exhibiting gracious acts and exhibiting grievous acts.
Consider the concept of disciplining your child. Does it benefit your child, their futures, or those who encounter your child now or later in life to squander correcting bad behavior now? Parents who turn the other cheek, so to speak, end up producing a spoiled, entitled monster who terrorizes others (see Proverbs 13:24). By failing to establish and enforce healthy boundaries, whether that be in our children, pets, or other types of relationships, we invite chaos and further harm in our lives and those around us. Additionally, it harms the “boundary buster”. A boundary buster, is a term I created to label those who fail to respect other’s boundaries, whether that be one’s personal boundaries or boundaries defined by God.
Establishing and enforcing healthy boundaries could be considered synonyms for judging others. Many Christians and those of the unbelieving world would say, “Don’t judge me!” or “Don’t worry, I’m not judging you..” in fear of what other’s may think, say, or do in response. After all, we are a society of walking on eggshells not wanting to dare offend anyone. When in reality, we have done exactly that: bred a society of the hyper-offended, just as Yeshua/Jesus prophecized (Matthew 24:10-13)!
“And then many will be offended, betray one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because LAWLESSNESS will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” -Yeshua, Matthew 24:10-13
Many believers have taken Jesus/Yeshua’s words and the Apostle Paul’s words out-of-context stating we should most definitely not judge others for this is not love and thereby, not Christ-like.
But is that what Scripture actually reflects? Let’s investigate a few passages to dig deeper. In Matthew 7, Jesus instructs His listeners to not judge others when you yourself struggle with the same or similar heart issue. Paul expresses similar sentiments in Romans 2. Furthermore, Scripture reveals that we are and in fact WILL BE judging others one day and that these encounters we experience in the here and now are training and testing us for future discernment opportunities. Explore these passages to learn more:
- Matthew 7:1-6
- Romans 2
- 1 Corinthians 5 (Notice Paul says in verse 3 he judges/discerns the matter and in verses 4 and 5, Paul speaks to the importance of tough love for the betterment of the rebellious and disobedient “believer”. In verse 9 and onward, Paul explains to not only judge believers who are blatantly dishonoring God (and His ways), but to essentially shun them, which is a form of discipline and a very clear boundary to be established and enforced. He goes on to clarify, he does not mean to judge and discipline non-believers, for they do not know any better and are still lost, but to to judge and discipline those who claim to accept Yeshua and be in covenant with God/Yahweh. For clearly, if a person is pursuing sexual sin, as an example, they are demonstrating fruit of the flesh and not fruit of the Spirit. Such issues of the heart need to be addressed by speaking the truth in love (boundary) and enforcing it. Always check you own motives though before doing so and do so within the realms or boundaries Yeshua defined for us in Matthew 18:15-20. Furthermore, you cannot judge or discipline a fellow brother or sister in Christ when you yourself are still dealing with the same root issue. For example, if you yourself are a fornicator, adulterer, struggle with pornography, or some other form of sexual lust, who are you to judge and address a fellow believer who may be in a lifestyle of homosexuality? For you yourself are producing fruit with the same root of sexual lust.
- 1 Corinthians 6 (Notice in verse 2 Paul reminds the Corinth church that believers or saints will be judging the world and even angels -see verse 3).
- The Book of Jude in verses 14-15 (expresses similar sentiments of the saint will judge the world)
- Revelation 20:4-6 (also explains the martyred saints will rule and reign and judge the world along with Christ).
- Ezekiel 44:23-24; Isaiah 2; Micah 2; Zechariah 14 (In the millennium, we see the Levites will judge and instruct others in God’s laws as will Yeshua).
So you see, dear brother and sisters, we need not be afraid nor be ashamed to “judge” or discern matters much less address them in truth and love. Boundaries are established so that we can BE love, as our Heavenly Father and Elohim designed.
Fear not! Rather, love God and love others for tough love is true love. Amen.
For further reading, consider the book “Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud. Other than the Bible itself, this faith-based book, along with others in their series, changed my life for the better.