Those Who Trespass Against Us: Discussing with Healthy Boundaries in Life
At the time of my writing this, I'd just let my dog outside. The back door is actually two doors: The actual door with a curtain over the glass, and the thinner, outer glass door. On this particular night, I didn't check outside before I opened the inner door. I thought for a moment what I would do if there were a strange man staring at me from the other side of the glass? And then, I thought, “What would I do if [insert the name of a particularly fine man] were standing there?” (Random, I know.) Then it hit me: How many times have we let people into our lives because they were in some way attractive to us - even though they have obviously violated the boundaries we've set in place?
Now when I say “attractive,” it could certainly mean physically attractive. But it could also mean attractive in some other way - spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc. As some of you know, I teach that your genuine needs create a foothold for the Spirit of Jezebel in your life. However, the person doesn't have to be a Jezebel; they could just be someone who doesn't respect boundaries.
The Trojan Horse is the perfect example of something bad that was allowed past the boundary because of its attractive appearance and implied (and assumed) compliment. The Trojans genuinely thought the Greeks (or the gods) had left them a gift; a sign of goodwill. However, they did not know that the Greeks were inside the Horse, just waiting for them to drop their suspicions, and let them into the city-gates. You know the rest: Troy fell, and great was the fall of the city! But let’s talk about you.
What Trojan Horses have made it past your boundaries? Why have you let them past your boundaries?
Just an hour or so ago, I received a call from one of my mentors. Whenever she calls out of the blue, I know something’s up in the spirit, and she has a word in her mouth. Her particular word was one of a knowledge and a warning (word of wisdom). Generally, I would not post something like this for public consumption, but for the sake of transparency and explainability (did I just make the word up? lol), she told me that she was really picking up in her spirit something about a relationship - that I was going to be married soon. Yet that I needed to be on guard about any potential predators. Why? Because when [a woman] is so open to the idea of marriage, it can be easy for a predator to slip in and be confused for someone who’s actually pursuing her. I take her warning to heart.
To be sure, I have ZERO clue who she may be talking about! LOL Yet I know to be on guard for it; to pray against it; to pray for it to be revealed if it’s already in my peripheral. By heeding her advice, I create a healthy relational boundary for myself.
Breaking Down Boundaries
Now, some boundaries are general; the common-sensical person would be aware of them. However, there are boundaries that are specific to you. Now, if you haven't made these known, that's your own fault. However, if the common boundaries and personal boundaries you've made known have not been respected, why would you let that person in your life? Why would you let that person remain in your life?
There are people who honestly transgress the proper boundaries of propriety out of ignorance. These people should be handled in a different manner than those who knowingly and intentionally transgress your personal boundaries.
What it really comes down to is someone's intent: Do they simply not care enough to respect your boundaries? Is it a power move to show you who’s really in charge? Or are they not respecting your boundaries because you don't respect or enforce them yourself? Be honest with yourself so you can be honest with them.
Now, we are supposed to forgive those who trespass against us.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
"But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses." (Mark 11:26)
Forgiveness is a given in our Judeo-Christian faith. We have a choice, certainly. Yet the choice to not give it will be returned upon our own heads with forgiveness not being extended to us when we need it, and we will ALWAYS need it. We are supposed to forgive. Yet forgiveness does NOT equate to blindness. Forgiveness does NOT denote a lack of boundaries.
EXAMPLE: You forgive the man or woman who molested you as a child, yet you don’t allow them around your children, or even around yourself if you can help it.
When I was writing this, I thought about the Old Testament rule regarding boundaries:
Don’t move your neighbor’s boundary markers, the longstanding landmarks set up by your pioneer ancestors defining their property. (Deuteronomy 19:14 MSG)
Now, I’m well aware that this passage is dealing with the Mosaic Law regarding territorial, terrestrial boundaries in the Promised Land (formerly Canaan), but go with me on this: If it is a sin to forcibly change an earthly boundary for earthly land, how much more so is it a sin to forcibly change someone’s spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical boundaries? How sinful is the man or woman who tries to get you to lower your God-given standards and your guard, and limit your personal convictions in any given relationship? What does this look like?
It’s the guy who knows the girl he’s dating is abstinent/celibate, but still tries to pressure her into having sex (or anything else he can talk her into).
It’s the boss who knows full well that you are not scheduled to work Sundays and have ongoing ministry-commitments, yet tries to manipulate you into coming into work on Sundays anyway.
It’s the friend who knows you’re not comfortable with a certain movie or environment or even people, yet tries to pull you into it anyway.
It’s the mother who knows her son is happily married to a woman who has a different way of doing things, yet keeps trying to guilt-trip her son into taking her side in disagreements between his wife and her.
It’s the pastor who tries to force you into excessive servitude - depriving you of your family time, friend time, and personal time - and does so in the name of God and submission.
There’s a well-known prophet that I know who’s frankly tried on multiple occasions to get me to lower my guard toward him...and really, something else...so he can be “released” to give a prophetic word to me.
First of all, if you have to wait for me to lower my guard in order to give me a word, the veracity and purity of your word are highly in question.
Second, if the word was time-sensitive, then you would be preventing me from hearing what I “need” to hear in order to do what I need to do in that given season.
Third, find me at least two places in Scripture - IN CONTEXT - where a true prophet of God gave or withheld a word based on someone’s spiritual/emotional/mental guard?
This man is a boundary transgressor, and while I would never say he is not a prophet with an authentic call on his life, I WILL say that he is trying to forcibly change my boundaries so he can have his own way in my life.
These trespassers are just that - trespassing on your personal convictions, standards, and space(s). And they don’t expect any pushback because of it. Well, I’m #SorryNotSorry to tell you - it’s time for you to push back.
Boundaries are not walls; they are healthy. Boundaries are beneficial. Boundaries create healthy spaces for the various relationships in various aspects of your life. Boundaries demand respect.
So if you have anyone in your life today that is transgressing your boundaries, pushback.
For some people, you just need to learn to say a firm “no.” (This goes for women especially.)
For some people, you need to not hang around or talk to.
For some people, you need to effectively communicate your stances to them. (This is for people who deserve to still be in your life, or who you can’t do anything about having in your life like family or perhaps, co-workers.)
And for those you honestly don’t know what to do with, pray. God will give you strategies from His Spirit of Wisdom, Counsel, Might, and Truth that will show you how to specifically handle your situation. He won’t lead you astray.
As we’re wrapping up 2017 and getting ready to launch into 2018, don’t wait until the New Year to start (re)constructing your boundaries. Ask the Spirit to show you what they should be and where they should be. If you do that, you’ll most certainly be starting off your New Year on the right foot!
P.S. Early Bird Registration is open for my upcoming #UnderstandingJezebel workshop! Lock in your special rate, and register today!! (Click the image below!)