Sunday, February 24, 2008

The limits of a bad example

Samson said to them, "This time I have a right to get even with the Philistines; I will really harm them." ... As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power. The ropes on his arms became like charred flax, and the bindings dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men.

Judges 15:3, 14-15

Today I was thinking about the limits of a bad example.

I mean, ok, so if we get angry, it is not a good idea to kill a bunch of people with the jawbone of an ass. But what are you supposed to do instead? That is the question!

The options of running away, ignoring the problem, gossiping with your friends, really aren’t the way to deal with it either.

And it is a real problem. We cannot control other people. People will do wrong. They will wound us, anger us, ignore us, etc. What do we do about such things?

Here is where I think the concepts of boundaries and hierarchical relationships help. Boundaries are needed in all areas, for example, You can’t do that in our house, in this office, if you are members of this church, if you attend this school, etc. We need to understand the limits, and then, if they are breached, to know who to go to fix the problem

Even in personal relationships, and even when those in the responsible positions do not solve the problem, then it is up to us to define and impose those boundaries, such as, you cannot say that to me, do that to me, treat me in this way, otherwise, we cannot have a relationship.

And then we need to have the strength to stand our ground, in the face of whining, guilt trips, manipulation and just plain strong-arming
. And still do all in love, always in a spirit that desires forgiveness and reconciliation. All that requires nothing less than a supernatural courage, patience and humility.

I don’t think we are expected to wake up the day after we received Christ as Savior and be ready to do this. It is just too hard, and we get messed up in our own past wounds. I think the best we can hope for is continued improvement and the contrition along the way. I think Christ is well pleased with that.

I still struggle with the pain from time to time, and the other day, I even thought, Does love always have to hurt or is it just me? But then the Lord spoke to my heart. Remember, My child, you live in a fallen world, and humans are fallen people. Their love is not what I intended it to be. You can strive to follow My Son, but you will still have struggles. Let My love alone be sufficient for you, because it will never fail you.

--from Every Heart Restored

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