We know that the Bible says we are to turn the other cheek but does that mean we just take abuse or ill treatment? I think sometimes we get confused by this. We think that being a believer means you are nothing more than a door mat to be walked over.
While we are to love our enemies, pray for them and forgive them…it does not mean that we don’t establish boundaries. Boundaries are important because they prevent you from being taken advantage of or abused. Without boundaries you are sacrificing yourself to the whim of whatever treatment another may wish to pour out upon you.
Sometimes we experience this inner conflict because we know in our heart that we have forgiven someone yet when we choose to distance ourselves from that person, we may be judged for that. Forgiveness isn’t a license to be abused or mistreated. It is a release and it releases not only that other person but yourself from bitterness.
Yet it doesn’t necessarily mean that we stand there taking the punches or the insults. We must have enough dignity and know who we are in Christ that we will not allow ourselves to be treated in such a manner.
While establishing boundaries is not always easy, they are often necessary in difficult relationships. Even in loving relationships there may be places you just don’t go and that would be establishing a boundary.
For instance, you make a deal with your husband that divorce will never be a word mentioned, even in the midst of your worst fight ever. That is a healthy boundary.
Establishing boundaries isn’t “un-Christian.” It is protective in many ways and at times, more than a little necessary. Don’t mix up forgiveness with boundaries. They are two different things, even though they may intertwine with one another.
Sometimes what is most important is what motives are behind your boundaries. Where is your heart in all of it? If you have been struggling to establish boundaries, know that you have the right to be treated with dignity.