“Its parts should have equal concern for each other.” 1Co 12:25 NIV
When you buy a house, you need clearly marked boundary lines to let you know what’s yours and what’s not. Good boundaries make good neighbors. The Bible says, “Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you” (Pr 25:17 NIV). So, how close is too close? Let’s look at three kinds of boundaries we establish between ourselves and others. Rigid boundaries. These are designed to keep others at arms’ length and protect your private, self-absorbed world. Without saying a word, your attitude says: “Keep out, trespassers will be prosecuted!” Why do we create such boundaries? Fear! We fear being known, controlled, hurt, or feeling inadequate and inferior. And our rigidity prevents intimacy. Our unwillingness to be vulnerable or to compromise leaves us defensive, isolated and lonely. Closeness and intimacy are things we long for, yet fear and avoid. We think, “You can’t hurt me if I keep you at a safe distance.” But it doesn’t work. God designed us to share life’s victories and defeats, not to live in isolation. We are to “have equal concern for each other. If one part [person] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1Co 12:25-26 NIV). Rigid boundaries rob you of life-enriching relationships. “So what’s the answer?” you ask. Reach out! You were created to give to others, and to receive what they have to give back to you. In giving you are fulfilled, and in receiving you are made complete. Anything less is just existing.