REFLECT: You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress: Psalm 17:3
APPLY: Setting boundaries feels awkward. It requires firmness.
Though kindness and other fruit of the Holy Spirit should always be in operation, it is needful to remember that when the setting or maintaining of a boundary is called for, the approval of the boundary’s subject is irrelevant.
When Peter, with his protective but limited perspective unwittingly used by the devil to try to discourage Jesus from His purpose, Jesus did not hesitate to call him out:
“… Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matthew 16: 22-23)
It had finally come to this.
Slowly the treatment of Christiane by her husband had changed from from being selfish, to chauvenistic, to unmistakably abusive.
It had started with dismissive slights, which she had ignored. When this morphed to rude controlling speech, she informed him that she would not be spoken to in that manner, and that if he addressed her in that fashion, she would ignore him.
Though she had followed through her words, things did not improve but became worse. Subsequently the rudeness was accompanied by physically intimidating behavior. Finally, her husband actually shoved her. Christiane informed her husband that she would not go down the road of physical violence with him. She warned him that she would call the police if he ever laid a violent hand on her again.
Lulled into a false confidence by her years of forbearance and dogged efforts to make the marriage work, Christiane’s husband did not believe her. Surely she wouldn’t: she had said God hates divorce so she didn’t want one. He put it to the test: in violent anger, he left Christiane bruised and trembling on the floor.
Christiane understood that she was finally faced with a clear choice: was she truly unwilling to travail the road of domestic violence, or would she shift her boundaries back further because her the fear of the unknown was more than her dread of the violence awaiting her? Christiane arose shakily from the floor and walked to the bedside table. She picked up the phone and called the police.
PRAYER: Father, setting boundaries requires courage: I don’t always have the courage or confidence to hold my boundaries firm. When it is easier to let a boundary slip, or I am tempted to pretend I haven’t noticed something unacceptable, please remind me that I am precious to You. Remind me of my duty to honor the value you have accorded me by defending my integrity. Rouse Your courage in me, that I may resist toxic trespassers and leave approval-seeking behind. In Jesus Name, Amen.