A Calvin Theological Seminary Publication by Students & Alumni
Boundaries (part 1)

Boundaries (part 1)

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Boundaries “When to Say YES When to Say NO To Take Control of Your Life”

What is a Boundary

A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances, Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions, Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from harmful, manipulative emotions of others, finally Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give a renewed awe for our creator. (pp. 27 – 28)

Why Boundaries

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Prov. 14:10 says “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no one shares its joy” – in order to deal with what is in our soul, we need boundaries to help us define what that is. (p. 28) It will be very difficult for us to rightly take our own responsibilities – boundaries help us define our responsibilities in such a way that it becomes easy for us. Well formed boundaries inform people about our lifestyle and how they can approach us for anything.

What Boundaries are not

Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask; can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? Aren’t boundaries selfish? These and sundry are the thoughts of many Christians when it comes to creating boundaries. But as we have seen the reasons for having clear boundaries above, boundaries are not intended to cut off any good relationship you have. Boundaries do not block people away from you, “in short, boundaries are not walls. The Bible does not say that we are to be “walled off” from others; in fact, it says that we are to be “one” with them (John 17:11). We are to be in community with them. But in every community, all members have their own space and property.” (p. 30) We need other’s support in building our boundaries – “boundaries are not built in a vacuum; creating boundaries always involves a support network.” (p. 36)

Types of Boundaries

·         Physical Boundaries

·         Emotional Boundaries

·         Mental Boundaries and

·         Spiritual Boundaries.


Saved by Grace


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