Thursday, May 6, 2010


Considering last week’s discussion:

1) What is the Biblical image of honoring our parents?

We are to credit our parents for being used by God to give us the physical birth necessary to accomplish His will in and through us. It seems that in every Scriptural case, honoring parents refers to obeying them when we are young children, helping them when they are in need and not cursing/speaking badly about them [Leviticus 19:3, 20:9, John 19:26, Ephesians 6:1, 1 Timothy 5:8]. No more and no less is described.

2) How do we respond to “negative family relationships?”

When Jesus’ earthly family sought to pull Him away
from His Father’s work,
He set a boundary with them because
His focus had to be on His Kingdom.
He encourages us to do the same:

Obscenity, foolish talk and coarse joking - God’s people are warned, “You must keep so far from it that it is not even suspected! …You can be assured that no one – (who commits such sin) - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ…” [Ephesians 5: 3-5]. This is not a laughing matter!

Ungodly activity – God’s people are commanded to “say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions” [Titus 2:12] and “flee every kind of evil” [1 Thessalonians 5:22].

Gossip - Gossipers “are people who give out information, whether true or false, which is detrimental to the character or welfare of others…. Those who do such things deserve death” [Romans 1:29, 32. The Source]. If you have ever experienced or witnessed the damage in relationships that gossip creates [Proverbs 16:28], you will understand why God speaks so strongly against this and will separate yourself from it.

We have a responsibility to lovingly draw the damaging effects of these depravities to our family’s attention. If this is done to no avail, the next step is to separate ourselves by ending a phone conversation, leaving the room or even the premises, if necessary.

Establishing boundaries may cause family members to think that you are unforgiving and unloving. However, there is a big difference between establishing boundaries with those who are untrustworthy vs. unforgiveness. Boundary-setting can and should be done without resentment. Although it doesn’t always feel like it, setting healthy boundaries is often the most loving thing to do. Until a person demonstrates that they have become trustworthy in a particular regard, the boundary must remain in place.

Expect that boundary setting may lead to disconnection with your family members. They may choose to distance themselves or you may have to distance yourself in order to not be drawn into their ungodly behavior. This often leads to feeling isolated from those you love. Yet, God frequently uses this disconnection to draw us nearer to Him and our Kingdom family. As difficult as it can be, keep in mind that this is His greater concern.

Once you have established solid boundaries, family members may speak badly about you. As tempting as it may be, there is no need to defend yourself. Wait upon the Lord! Yes, this is very difficult! However, as the years go by, those who have thought, spoken or heard poorly about you will begin to see the truth rise to the surface and the one who slandered you will be exposed [Luke 8:17].

A dangerous trap that is often set before us when we begin to walk in the light of God’s truth is to become hypocritical. We have no business setting boundaries regarding others when we are not diligently purifying our own lives. We must act carefully to set an example by not allowing any unwholesome talk or slander come from our own lips, indulging in impure acts and by protecting our minds from things which are an abomination to God [Ephesians 4:23, 29, 31, 5:15]. Those whom we love will only become more resentful of us and our boundaries if we are not “practicing what we preach!”

As followers of Jesus,
He holds us accountable to demonstrating
His purity, love and grace
in order to bring salvation to those He has chosen

[Acts 13:47].


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