How to love with boundaries
If you are in a relationship with a toxic person, the most loving thing you can do is create boundaries. Paul said in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” And again in Hebrews 12:14a, “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone.”
If it is possible…make every effort… Friend, have you given peace your all only to feel weighed down and exhausted by continual hurts from another? Let me be clear. If you are in an unsafe environment then the boundary you need to set right now is one of distance. Get to a safe place and call for help. If this is not you, if you are safe but weighed down, let’s explore the pursuit of peace and the importance of boundaries.
Are boundaries unloving?
When setting out boundaries with others, the question to ask is, “what does love demand?” Unconditional love does not mean unconditional assistance or unconditional acceptance of someone else’s behavior. People need to experience the outcomes of their own decisions. Don’t allow them to become codependent on you.
Have the clarity of mind to understand who is responsible in the relationship for what. There is no real relationship if one is giving their all and the other is giving nothing. It may feel like you are checking out and being unloving, but it isn’t unloving to hold people accountable for how they treat you.
You, friend, were not designed to carry your own burdens and everyone else’s load. It will not end well if you find yourself in a relationship with someone that leaves you constantly under the weight of their behaviors and irresponsibility. You were not designed to be another person’s savior. By continuing, you are robbing them of the chance to grow.
Peace is possible
Peace may not come for you in this relationship. But, if you have done all you can-including having a real conversation about boundaries-then peace about the relationship is possible.
- Create clear boundaries and a timeframe to check back in to see if change has happened.
- Get into counseling and a community group.
- Surround yourself with the wisdom of people who have walked this path before you.
Do everything you can do. Remember that Jesus is their Savior, you are not. Step back and trust God to reach them.
Tune in to the UnfilteredRadio podcast. Discover what it means to authentically follow Jesus and what unconditional love looks like.