My Lord has been teaching me a great deal about "limit lines" in the past few months, so I thought I would pass on a synopsis of what He has been teaching me.
We don't like to think there are limits to our freedoms and yet we accept so many without giving it a second thought. Take for example the graphic to the left. All of us that drive, know that to pass beyond that heavy white line painted on the ground would place us in danger, so, we stop behind the line, check for oncoming traffic and then proceed through the intersection when we are sure it is safe. This limit line keeps us from harming ourselves or others. Should you choose to ignore the limit line and enter the intersection without stopping you run the risk of being hit by cross traffic. If you decide to stop after the limit line you may be hit by cross traffic or traffic turning left, especially Big Trucks (this is a real problem for us drivers and happens all too often).
The point is limits are set for our safety and the safety of others, ignoring them is hazardous to your health.
This is also true in both our spiritual and emotional life.
In our emotional life we can become so intense in an argument, so insistent in having our way, that we cross the other persons boundary and they react in a way that will be harmful to us. This reaction could be a cold snub or a blazing war. Others personal boundaries are important for maintaining peaceful relations with our fellow human beings. Consider this passage:
Mar_9:50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Salt slows down decay and adds flavor. By respecting other people's boundaries we can act like salt and bring out the "flavor" in the relationship and/or retard any decay in the relationship.
When a relationships boundaries have been crossed God tells us that it interferes with our relationship with Him:
Mar_11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Mat_5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat_5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
I have found in my own life it can be very hard to know where other people's boundaries are and I find that I often cross them and have to make amends. Amends are not a simple apology but an honest desire to repair the relationship and respect the boundary. For me it means admitting where I have been at fault, and, here is where it get's real hard, ignoring what the other person did in response to my crossing that boundary.
What about those times when other people cross your boundaries?
I think God has provided for that in the passage above from Mark. I also think that if I have truly forgiven them then when they confess their sin against me and are prepared to make amends it will show my forgiveness of them by accepting their amend.
In writing the workbook, I made what to me was an amazing discovery - God has set limit lines for our relationship with Him. There are things He will NOT do, there are prayers He will NOT accept, and there is behavior He finds INTOLERABLE. We would be wise to learn just what those limits are both with Him and with our fellows. We would be wise to also discover what our limits are and "install" caution lights before the limit line is reached.
So what do you think?