Continuing from previous post, taken from the book Boundaries.
What does it mean in Galatians 6:7-8 when it says, ‘A man reaps what he sows.’? Well, if you work you get paid, if you go grocery shopping you get food, if you study you do well in school. On the flip side, if you eat junk you become unhealthy, if you spend your money you have none left, if you fall over you will hurt yourself. This what happens with consequences. Everything you do will have a consequence. It is the way God intended for life to function.
We teach this principle at the school where I am fortunate enough to work at. As part of the behaviour management plan, children are explicitly taught that each decision they make in their behaviour will render a consequence. The choice is theirs and the power is in their hands, but whatever they chose they will reap what they have sown, e.g. a student doesn’t hand in her assignment, she will not get a mark and therefore will not pass.
The problem comes when someone interrupts the law of sowing and reaping. ‘Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path’ (Proverbs 15:10) and this is so true! By interfering with this natural flow, you render the person powerless.
The Boundaries book states that this happens a lot with parents and children. Parents often nag, instead of allowing their children to reap the natural consequences of their behaviour. Parenting with love and limits, with warmth and consequences, produces confident children who have a sense of control over their lives.
Part of setting boundaries means that you must take responsibility for your choices as you are the only one making them. No one can force you to do anything. In making your own choices, you are also taking responsibility for the consequences.
But if you are a Christian, is it right to still have boundaries?
You bet! Boundaries come from God and He has his own set of boundaries that He lets us know about. In the book Boundaries it says (in much better words than my own): God defines himself as a distinct, separate being, and he is responsible for himself. He defines and takes responsibility for his personality by telling us what he thinks, feels, plans, allows, will not allow, likes, and dislikes.
He also defines himself as separate from his creation and from us. He differentiates himself from others. He tells us who he is and who he is not. For example, he says that he is love and that he is not darkness (1 John 4:16; 1:6).
In addition, he has boundaries within the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one, but at the same time they are distinct persons with their own boundaries. Each one has his own personhood and responsibilities, as well as a connection and love for one another (John 17:24).
God also limits what he will allow in his yard. He confronts sin and allows consequences for behaviour. He guards his house and will not allow evil things to go on there. He invites people in who will love him, and he lets his love flow outward to them at the same time. The ‘gates’ of his boundaries open and close appropriately (from my last post).
In the same way he gave us his “likeness” (Gen. 1:26), he gave us personal responsibility within limits. He wants us to “rule and subdue” the earth and to be responsible stewards over the life he has given us. To do that, we need to develop boundaries like God’s.