Friday, February 04, 2005

Crossing Boundaries

I have a problem with boundaries. Not talking about physical ones (I don't leap the fence at the lion cage at the zoo, for instance), but the emotional, intangible boundaries. I've had relationships and friendships where I went to opposite extremes, either letting someone in way too far, or shutting them out altogether. The last couple of years I've prayed a lot about boundaries, and God has blessed me with a lot of wisdom and insight, but it's still an area that I struggle with.

Ever have dysfunctional friendships/relationships? Ever have a friend or family member take advantage of you? I've had some fair-weather friends in my life, people who only seem to want to be around me when things are going well and drama-free. Conversely, I've also had people in my life who only wanted to talk to me when they had problems they wanted me to somehow solve. Both types of relationships are unhealthy. And I have struggled in the past with setting boundaries in these relationships, with wanting to maintain these relationships and avoid getting hurt in the process.

This morning I read about Moses going up on Mt. Sinai to meet with God (Exodus 19), and how God told him to warn the Israelites to stay behind the boundaries at the base of the mountain and not try to follow Moses up there. The fact that God would allow anyone to approach Him was, at that time, unheard of. God's presence was awe-inspiring and fear-inducing, and many people wanted to get as far away from Him as possible because He was so overwhelming. God set up boundaries, not only at Mt. Sinai, but also in the tabernacle and later in the temple to keep His glory separated from the people, in order to protect and preserve their lives.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn, a symbolic act of the boundaries that separated us from God being destroyed. As I read about the boundaries in Exodus 19 this morning, it hit me that God endures some extremely dysfunctional relationships with us. How many times do we only praise God when everything's going great in our lives? Or how many times do we only talk to Him when we need something?

God's no doormat, He doesn't allow us to walk all over Him. But His desire to be with us is so great that He's willing to tear down boundaries and endure our imperfect, dysfunctional ways. He sets Himself up for a lot of hurt. But that's how great His love is for us.

God, thank You for tearing down the boundaries that separated us from You. Thank You for putting up with us when we take You for granted. You are so merciful and gracious to us. You are so worthy of our praise and adoration!

1 comment:

stevepvc said...

Yeah, praise be to the God who loves us and accepts us even in our wacky dysfunctions! When I read your post, though, I was curious how your view of god here affects your own system of boundaries?