Establishing godly boundaries: early communication is vital

(Photo: Sanja Gjenero)

In every relationship we have, whether it is with a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker or boss, it is important to establish godly boundaries to ensure the health of that relationship and to avoid misunderstandings.

Godly boundaries are there to protect us and help save us from frustration, pain or heartache.

It might be useful to imagine yourself and the other person in a circle. Within the circle are conversations and activities with that person that are good and beneficial. The danger zone lies outside that circle and your conscience, which the Holy Spirit will direct, will let you know if you or they are veering into that zone.

Whether it's the friend who doesn't know when it's time to go home, or a partner who doesn't share your moral standards, communicating with them early in the relationship and with honesty will be much easier than waiting, afraid to cause offence.

Once a pattern has been established, it will be far more difficult to discuss and resolve, as that person will have become accustomed to that behaviour.

If that person is a family member, it will be even more critical to preserve the relationship where possible. In such cases, taking a consistent, but loving stance may eventually win their respect.

If you are currently in a relationship that makes you feel uncomfortable and it has perhaps gone on for some time unchecked, the first thing to do is to sit down with that person and communicate with them calmly and openly how you are feeling. If that person values the relationship, they will listen to you and you can now both work on establishing or re-establishing godly boundaries.

However, if they do not want to listen or are unwilling to commit to these boundaries then the Bible teaches that bad company corrupts good morals; in such cases it may be better to end the relationship.

This can be a painful prospect, but it may be that after a period of separation that the relationship may be restored if the other person has had time to reflect on the value of the relationship and is now ready to change.

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