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Monday, June 21, 2010

Unreasonable boundaries that stem from distrust and unforgiveness disrupt the unity of the spirit and hold people away from one another. Jesus set no boundary on how close the people he ministered to could come to him or how far away they should stay.

A Christian young lady received an email from a new found friend saying, “We need to set some boundaries.” The young lady was shocked by what this new found friend had to say about the closeness of their friendship. The email detailed how they as sisters in the Lord needed breathing room.

The friendship originally developed through the personal ministry of this new friend giving the young lady prophetic words from God. The word of the Lord she gave was how close they would become and how in a dream she saw them working together. Then in her email, she completely contradicted her own prophetic words and said, “Stop looking at me, don’t sit next to me in church, don’t walk up to my car at church because it startles me, call before you come over, and stop bringing me gifts.”

When I heard about all this, it started me thinking about wounded relationships and broken people. The strict boundary mentality is almost always a direct result of something awful such as divorce, alcoholism, drug addiction or sexual abuse. The boundaries never seem to come from fruits of the Spirit, like godly love and edification.

Christians who minister prophetically had better be prepared to deny themselves and take up their cross because unconditional love will most certainly be required of them. Following Jesus allows people to come to you freely, no strings attached. We give up everything; our right to a normal private life, boundaries, breathing room and space. It almost sounds unrealistic but it goes with the territory. God requires total abandonment of self. Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). The singer Carmen put it like this, “Just when I thought I had given him my all, I heard him ask for more.”

Jesus put no restrictions on the people he ministered to concerning his availability to them or in any way hindered their coming to him; he never turned a soul away. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus in his earthly ministry was poured out to the people like a drink offering, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37).

Mark 5:24 says, many people followed him and thronged him. The woman with the issue of blood made her way through the crowd and touched the hem of his garment. His mother and brothers sent word to him in a crowd letting him know they were there to see him. A house was so crowded they tore up the roof to see Jesus. Blind Bartimaeus cried out for his healing as Jesus passed by with a great number of people. Jesus was almost always surrounded with crowds of people. He ministered freely to the multitudes without ever once discouraging them from coming to him.

Even when it came to little children Jesus set no boundaries but said, “Suffer (allow) little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). Instead of pushing people away, Jesus himself would be the one to go away. He said to his disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile” (Mark 6:31). He would go out and pray by himself, or in a crowd, convey himself away. After feeding the five thousand, Jesus sent the multitude away so they could go into the villages to buy food and so he could go into a mountain alone to pray, but even then he first blessed them. He had a blessing for all who came to him.

Being in the ministry is not always easy but we should never take out our frustration on the people we minister to. It is according to wisdom that we pace ourselves with rest and relaxation, but never at the expense of deliberately hurting others.

When you retreat to your privacy or enter your prayer closet, keep it private. Don’t make a big deal out of boundaries, just do it. There is no need to sound a trumpet. When you need a break, let it be as the giving of alms in Matthew 6:3 “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.”

Pastor Tilson