I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. (Psalm 139:14)
Brokenhearted people often have major problems setting godly boundaries in their lives. The lies of the enemy, Satan, can cause us to feel like we deserved the abuse and/or trauma that we have suffered. We may feel like a doormat, being walked on over and over, because we were vulnerable and an easy target. That is how the enemy would like us to view ourselves. Embracing the true identity that the Lord God has created for us enables us to reject Satan’s lies!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God! The enemy would like us to forget that and see ourselves as less than the beautiful creations that we were meant to be, reflecting God Himself. When we are carrying pain and trauma in our hearts and spirits, our opinions of our worth and value can be skewed. Not having godly boundaries is agreeing with the devil that we are worth less than how our loving God views us. The true nature of who we are in God’s eyes can be distorted—which then causes us to accept more abusive treatment—and the destructive cycle continues. We must break that cycle by believing God’s Word and taking godly action to receive the freedom to be who God created us to be.
“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18 )
Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are sons and daughters of the Most High God, the Lord Almighty! We must protect our hearts, minds and spirits, realizing that we are precious to our Heavenly Father and that He is saddened when we do not do so. He paid an enormous price for us to become His sons and daughters when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer an excruciating death for our salvation. Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead needs to be treasured for the amazing and incomparable gift it is to us by our valuing ourselves enough to set godly boundaries!
Connected to the practice of not having healthy, godly boundaries is the fear of man. The fear of man—and what a person may think or do if we do not make them happy and comply with their requests or demands—is one of the most difficult things for people with wounded hearts and spirits to overcome. Many people learn that the fear of man keeps them from suffering additional abuse and trauma. The fear of man becomes stronger with time and brokenhearted/traumatized individuals will often do anything to please people to avoid the consequences of not doing so.
We must understand that forgiveness does not mean that we are supposed to allow repeated abuse. Nowhere did Jesus say that we have to trust someone to love them. He also did not say that we have to continue in relationship with those who continually cause us severe emotional or spiritual pain. Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. If a person is not remorseful and repentant, we should not stay in the relationship unless the Lord leads us to do so, knowing the possibility of future reconciliation. If they honestly repent and/or seek help to stop the behavior, we should cautiously and with the Lord’s direction, support their pursuing freedom from the sin. However, allowing them to continue to hurt and abuse us is not how the Lord wants us to live. We must value ourselves as sons and daughters of the Most High God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. It grieves Him when we don’t set godly boundaries with people.
Not setting godly boundaries in our own lives is a trap that the devil uses repeatedly to cause us emotional pain, especially in the lives of ministers. Most ministers are compassionate. That is why they have entered ministry. They desire to help people and this desire drives them at times to neglect the wisdom of the Lord in setting healthy, godly boundaries in their lives. Although we should be “moved with compassion,” that does not mean we are to allow people to deceive us or take advantage of us. Setting godly, healthy boundaries is so important if we are going to run the race and stay in it to the end. People will test our boundaries just like children test the boundaries with their parents. It is not a sin or an ungodly practice to protect ourselves from exhaustion and unreasonable demands from others. Saying no to people is not sin. Of course, saying no applies only to people and not to the Lord. He will never ask us to do anything that He does not give us the strength and guidance to accomplish.
Godly boundaries are good walls. However, painful and traumatic situations happen in our lives that can break down the good walls that the Lord designed to shield us from evil. We tend to develop ungodly, destructive walls as a result. Those detrimental walls can separate us from the love of God and His Son, Jesus. Harmful walls can also prevent us from receiving the healing we need for the emotional, mental and/or spiritual pain that exist inside us.
We cannot be truly healed unless we allow the finished work that Jesus did on the cross to penetrate the ungodly walls that we have built around our broken hearts and spirits. Jesus will remove the harmful walls as we receive His healing, and He will replace them with godly ones. Asking Jesus to release the pain we are carrying and replace it with His love will help us to develop godly, healthy walls, or boundaries, in our lives.
Accepting help for healing and freedom from past pain and trauma can be a difficult and frightening thing to consider, because it involves facing the truth and being honest with others about what we have endured. This is especially true if the pain and trauma were caused by other believers. However, we must return to the Lord’s truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and ask God for the courage to begin setting godly boundaries and to restore our true identity in Jesus’ name!
All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.