Good Boundaries Restore Relationships

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans10 Minutes

Stepping outside good boundaries

In “Increase Your Productivity By Setting Good Boundaries” we explored setting boundaries as the practice of applying the Gospel to the details of your life. Boundaries help you understand and live out your identity in Christ. The crisis created by a broken boundary becomes an opportunity to know God more and give Him greater glory.

None of us wants to be in conflict with others, but history — and the Bible itself — attest to the reality of relationship troubles. Let’s explore some common hallmarks of broken boundaries and learn how to give God glory by stepping back into Christ.

Excessive busyness

Whether you hate to disappoint someone by saying no or simply can’t stand by when you see a need, overextending yourself is a boundary-breaking behavior. God has given us time as a boundary — even incorporating a Sabbath Rest for our frail bodies. Time is something we must steward with good boundaries. Two lies often fuel the charge across this boundary:

  • Listening to your heart and not the Holy Spirit.
  • Believing that your value is found in what you do.

God does not expect you to fix every problem you see. And He’s not measuring your worth by how much you do. Living within the boundaries of His love will not exhaust you. Jesus calls us to His side saying His yoke is easy and His burden light. If you find life to be overwhelming, you’ve stepped outside of God’s good boundaries. Here’s some Scriptural truth to help you walk back to a place of acceptance and peace in Christ – the place where you are wholly loved and completely celebrated by the King of Kings:

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10).

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15).

Isolation and condemnation are two sides of the same coin. Both play into the devil’s purpose of division, and his work is destroyed by the truths given below. God made us for connection — with Him and with one another. Unity was the plea of Jesus as He faced death; therefore, any boundary that separates us from others is outside of Christ.


You know the feeling — the one that calls you to the couch in sweatpants with your favorite snack. That I just can’t feeling. Your very being feels too fragile to interact with others. You can’t risk a disagreement, a rejection, or even compassion that might shatter the fragile hold you have on life. It’s a horrible place to be, and a clear sign that you’ve lost the joy of salvation — of truly understanding what Jesus has sacrificed. We are all a blend of divinity and dirt, creatures who fall and fail — creatures God adores and calls very good. When He looks at us in Christ, no sin mars our beauty. Complete acceptance for ourselves — and others — is in Jesus. If you feel condemned or feel like condemning others, you’ve slipped outside of God’s boundaries.

Criticism and Judgment

The voice of insecurity slices and dices people with criticism and judgment. When you live in the boundary of God’s love, you build others up. That’s not to say that right and wrong go out the window in the name of love. God has clear boundaries and expectations. Our role, though, is to live our convictions with humility, walk in the light, proclaim His truth, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict others. Walking in love means coming alongside people to shine a light back to Jesus — not spew out shame, blame, and accusation.

You can fight for boundaries that promote unity with these truths:

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him (2 Corinthians 5:18)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  (Colossians 2:7 NLT).

For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.”  (Acts 17:28).

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:22-23).


This is a tough one because, by definition, we don’t know when we’re deceived. It is so easy to allow a good thing to become an idol. Anything can be an idol: children, dieting, peace, health, exercise, work, family, sports. And good things that become idols make nasty, cruel taskmasters.

Self-deception often grows out of good goals and desires. When the goals become idols, they drag us outside of Jesus’ boundaries demanding that we pursue them no matter the cost. We excuse ourselves from God’s clear commands, manipulate and control others — all in the name of appeasing the idol. One good indicator of idol-chasing is fear. If you find yourself consumed with fearful thoughts like: What if this happens? Or If I don’t do this, something bad will happen, you should suspect an idol has lured you outside the boundary lines of Jesus. God’s perfect love never generates fear.

Fix your mind on these truths and step back into the place of faith and joy:

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:10-11).

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isaiah 26:3).

The Holy Spirit gives us discernment and reveals our false idols. Live in the security of God’s love, know your value to the Creator, and you will hear the guidance of the Spirit. Every damning effect of sin was destroyed by Jesus — it was His mission (1 John 3:8) — living with unrest is not your birthright. You were made for more.

When you live in Christ, you are completely free, and God is able to work through you to build the Kingdom and accomplish eternal good. Honoring your limits is surrendering to the boundaries God designed — and that opens the way for His limitless plans and power.