Friday, September 3, 2021

What Are Boundaries?


As a Christian, how do I set healthy relationships to stop taking ownership of the responsibilities of others and stop allowing others to violate my limits.

~~ Watch the Video ~~


  • 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • Genesis 2: 15-17
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • Luke 5:15-16
  • Matthew 12:46-50
  • Mark 6:4 - 6
  • John 4:7
  • Matthew 10: 11-15
  • Matthew 15: 21-28
  • Matthew 13:10-12
  • Luke 22: 41-43
  • Matthew 4:3-4
  • 2 Thessalonians 3: 7-10

2 Corinthians 9:7

 7 Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

What are boundaries?

What are some examples of boundaries you have set?

Christians ask these questions

  1. Can I be a loving person and still set limits?
  2. What are legitimate boundaries?
  3. What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
  4. How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy or money?
  5. Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
  6. How do boundaries relate to mutual submission within marriage?
  7. Aren’t boundaries selfish?

As long as you have conflict with other people, you are dealing with boundaries.

Demanding Child Example

You love your child

You want the best for them

What if you had a child who

  • Still wanted you to tie their shoe everyday at age 16
  • Wanted you to still carry them even though they were 17 and 6’4” and 250lbs
  • Still wanted to be breastfed at 24

You still love them, but you will not do what they want you to do

The goal of studying boundaries is not about figuring out how you can change someone else

  • It’s about figuring out how to change yourself


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • People Pleasing
  • Dog Walking Example
  • What is a Boundary?
  • Practical Activity #1
  • Jesus Had Boundaries
  • Tough Boundaries

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be  _______ healthy

  • spiritually
  • emotionally
  • mentally

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just supposed to have eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Kindness
  4. Not seeking external approval / validation
  5. Living by values and principles
  6. Setting Boundaries
  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  8. Living with purpose and passion
  9. Optimism
  10. Confidence
  11. Healthy relationships with others
  12. Not losing control of your emotions
  13. Free from addictions
  14. Addressing Conflict
  15. Vulnerability
  16. Not critical or Judgmental
  17. Not jealous
  18. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  19. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  20. Not afraid to fail
  21. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  22. Selfless encounters with others
  23. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  24. You care about how others feel
  25. Patient
  26. Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  27. Can communicate directly
  28. Don’t take responsibility for other people's emotions
  29. Being led by the Spirit

People Pleasing

People pleasers have a hard time saying no and they spend much of their time doing things for other people

  • They don’t want to


  • Doing it to look good
  • Scared to say no
  • I want to give the impression that they are a “good person”

People pleasers have the belief that if they are good, they will be loved, get their needs met, and live a problem free life.

People Pleasers and Boundaries

People pleasers generally have a problem setting boundaries

People Pleasers are usually more comfortable backpedaling, giving in and keeping the peace.  

They believe if they take one more step backwards the other person will stop pushing and everything will be smooth.  

It is not unusual for people pleasers to go overboard when starting to set boundaries.

Dog Walking Example

In the following scenarios, assess whether or not there is a boundary issue...

Scenario1: impacting family and work

  • Neighbor calls at 6:30 some mornings and ask you to walk his dog
  • Afraid to say “no”
  • Afraid they’ll talk bad about you at the association
  • Afraid it will impact your friendship
  • Late getting to work
  • Your boss is complaining
  • Not feeding your kids
  • Bitter and resentful

Scenario 2: I like the exercise

  • You’re retired
  • Asked neighbor if you could walk the dog
  • Keeping you accountable with exercise
  • Love the attention from the cute dog
  • Love dogs
  • Losing weight
  • Mood is better

Scenario 3: afraid of gang member

  • Your neighbor is in a gang
  • You do it because you are afraid of him
  • He might be there for you if you ever ran into any trouble where you needed them

Scenario 4: doing for evangelism

  • You hate dogs
  • Your neighbor is unsaved
  • Doing it because you want to look like Christian

Scenario 5: miss church

  • They want you to walk their dog every Sunday instead of you going to church

What are some boundaries that could be set in this situation

  1. I won’t walk your dog
  2. I need a week’s notice

Are these boundaries?

  • I’ll walk your dog if you go to church with me next Sunday
  • I’ll walk your dog if you pay me $50

Love vs Fear

Boundaries involve not doing what you don’t want to do.

What if someone sets a boundary that they are going to pay for their son’s food  anymore because all he does is whine and cry and complain?

  • What if the son is 2 months old

Why is that different?

Boundaries are not just about the action you’re doing.

When determining if boundaries are needed…

You need to account for

  • Responsibility
  • Motivation
  • Love vs fear

Whose responsibility is it to walk the neighbor’s dog?

What were the different motivations in the examples above?

  • Fear of saying “no”
  • Reputation
  • Personal gain
  • Fear of physical harm
  • look good  

What is a Boundary?

Genesis 2: 15-17

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.”

  • God set a clear boundary with Adam and Eve
  • If you do this, this is the consequence

Christian boundaries are loving limits you set in your relationships

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 deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others. Spiritual boundaries help us distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator.

-- Boundaries - Cloud & Townsend

A boundary is:

  • a guideline
  • a rule
  • a limit

It states… This is what I am OK with and this is what I am not OK with


When we practice boundaries, we take ownership of:

  1. Our thoughts
  2. Our feelings
  3. Our bodies
  4. Our decisions

Likewise, we let other people take ownership of their thoughts, feelings, bodies and decisions

You own

  • Your feelings
  • Your choices
  • Your behavior


  • What I am responsible for, and what I am not responsible for in relationships

You are not responsible for someone else’s wants

You are responsible for your limits

Ability to Say No

Boundaries Allow me to say yes and to say no

It’s not just about not doing things for somebody else.

  • It’s about not doing things you don’t want to do.
  • If you are doing it out of love… It’s OK

The most basic boundary setting word is… No

No is a confrontational word.  

People with lack of boundaries have trouble saying no to others

  • Control
  • Pressure
  • Demands
  • Needs


A boundary is the distinction between what you have authority over and what other people have authority over

  1. If you don’t have boundaries you will be controlled by other people.  
  2. You will be exposed to unnecessary temptation and unnecessary negative environments

Boundaries Allow me and not others to be in control of my life


Boundaries define access I allow someone to have in my life

Your boundary is about you taking care of your own heart mind and soul

We define Our Own boundaries

  • They define how we feel safe being treated by others

It is OK if your boundaries are unique

Boundaries are for you and by you

Goals of Boundaries

A boundary is a statement about how these things will no longer work for you

the goal is to decrease negative behaviors in our relationships by changing ourselves

Not About Changing The Other Person

Boundary setting isn’t about getting the other person to be different.

  • It is about getting you to be different.
  • If someone is crossing your boundary it isn’t their’s yours

Not an Agreement

A boundary is not necessarily an agreement

  • The other person doesn’t have to agree

Example: I will not let you punch my mother when you have a bad day at work

Boundaries provide protection so that we can be vulnerable

People pleasers like to think that they are authentic

  • That they are kind easy-going person

A lot of times they are not really letting the other person see who they are

They can lose self-esteem and self respect for themselves

They help us to feel vulnerable and safe

  • They help other people feel vulnerable and safe with us as well

We need to have a consequence to violating our boundaries

A boundary without a consequence is simply a threat

This is the difficult part

Example of a Boundary

“I don’t like it when you yell at me“

“ When you curse at me I shut down so, I will have to hang up (or leave the room)”

Practical Activity #1

Observe yourself and see if you:

  • Say yes when you would rather say no
  • Agree to do something to avoid conflict
  • Avoid doing something because someone might get upset at you
  • tolerate an intolerable situation hoping that it will just go away
  • make it seem like you want to do things you don’t want to do in order to look like a “good person”

Jesus Had Boundaries

Matthew 22:37-39

37And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

Doing for others what they cannot do for themselves is showing the sacrificial love of Christ

Did Jesus call us to  allow someone to

  • take a parking spot we were waiting for
  • cut in front of us in the grocery line
  • take a package from our door/mailbox

Did Jesus have Boundaries?

What are some examples of Jesus setting Boundaries?

Jesus Limited Access

Alone Time

Luke 5:15-16

 15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

  • Jesus made His spiritual needs a priority

Example: you have company staying the weekend

Refused to Interact With Family

Matthew 12:46-50

 46 While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. 47 [Someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak to You.”] 48 But Jesus replied to the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?” 49 And extending His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold: My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.”

Jesus Didn’t Heal Everyone Who Needed Healing

Did Jesus heal everyone that needed healing?

Example: pool of Bethesda

  • Only healed one lame man

Mark 6:4 - 6

4Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not dishonored except in his hometown and among his own relatives, and in his own household.”  5 And He could not do any miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He was amazed at their unbelief.

Jesus Allowed People to Serve Him

John 4:7-9

7 A woman of Samaria *came to draw water. Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away to the city to buy food. 9 So the Samaritan woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, though You are a Jew, are asking me for a drink, though I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Woman putting oil on His feet

Some Things Were Only Given to Those Who Deserved It

Matthew 10: 11-15

11And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city. 12As you enter the house, give it your greeting. 13If the house is worthy, see that your blessing of peace comes upon it. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace. 14And whoever does not receive you nor listen to your words, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust off your feet. 15Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment, than for that city.

Jesus Responded to Faith

Matthew 15: 21-28

21Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her with even a word. And His disciples came up and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us!” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 Yet He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord; but please help, for even the dogs feed on the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed at once.

  • Jesus wasn’t concerned with hurting her feelings
  • Jesus made an exception due to faith

That is because deliverance is tied to the forgiveness of your sins, and the forgiveness of your sins only comes with the covenant. It is only for believers.

Example: you decide you aren’t going to work overtime because it takes from family

  • Boss offers you quadruple pay

Jesus Didn’t Reveal Everything to Everyone

Matthew 13:10-12

10 And the disciples came up and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 And [a]Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

God‘s Will took Precedence

Luke 22: 41-42

41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

  • Precedence over his own will

Matthew 4:3-4

3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

  • Precedence over the wheel of others

Tough Boundaries

Sometimes it is tough to set boundaries. Especially with people you love.

2 Thessalonians 3: 7-10

7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined way among you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a role model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

How does the verse “if you don’t work you don’t eat“ explain a boundary?

  • It clarifies responsibility
  • It is not your responsibility to feed a grown person

The Bridge Paradox

Instructor:  Michael Leadon 


5 boundaries you really need for a healthy life

How to set boundaries

Dr. Henry cloud

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life

by Henry Cloud, John Townsend 

What are boundaries?

Jenny and Helms

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Dr. Robert Glover


Don’t be a doormat

Proverbs 21:19

19It is better to live in a desert land

Than with a contentious and irritating woman.

Galatians 6:5

For each one will bear his own load.

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