I wipe my tears away as I listen to someone I love dearly speak of how her family has been torn apart. She shared the raw hurt that flooded her soul. As I listened to the devastation of what one person’s actions caused, the reality of that crashed over me like a giant wave. I look up to and treasure these people. When you are caught in a giant wave it throws you and tumbles you about. You don’t know up from down and lose all sense of direction.You don’t know which direction to swim in to find the air you so desperately need for your lungs. That’s how I felt in the moments she shared with me what had transpired. I desperately wanted air. I needed a sense of direction. I felt lost in the chaos of it all and helpless.
It seemed the same wave that engulfed me had done so with everything the person I cherished held dear. Her immediate family, her extended family, her friends, her church, her marriage, everyone was tossed about by this giant invisible wave. I watched her shoulders shake as despair consumed her and another wave hit me. I wanted to cling to something….I needed something to hold onto to survive.
The days and weeks that followed I walked around realizing how one person’s actions caused destruction all around them. They are not an island. They are not their own person with no one else to influence. These actions have a ripple effect that reaches and touches many. This realization lead to fear. I feared all the ways I could be negatively affected by other’s choices. I am thankful for a God that intervenes. I am thankful for a God who knows my thoughts and calls me by name because God began to speak to me. He told me He is a God of redemption. He showed me He is still in control. He provided the needs of the family that was shattered. He moved and restored the brokenness of my precious person. I watched as she grew in her relationship with Him. There was a closeness that matured. A total dependency on Him and complete peace in her life formed. All the while He was restoring the shattered pieces of her life. It didn’t happen overnight or over a week….not even in a couple of months but God in HIs timing was healing wounds and making things like new. I marveled at how a situation so hopeless and futile was now blossoming into a beautiful testimony of God’s intervening, gracious hand in the life of HIs child.
In the years that followed, I watched this person’s marriage be restored. I watched their family work toward healing together. I watched them deal with the difficult issues and face them head on. I watched grace being displayed in the home. I saw the gentle waves of healing in every area of their life, and it reached out to all those affected by the “ripples” of the sin.
As I sit in church Sunday in and Sunday out seeing how sin has wounded those around me. My heart aches for them and those they love. I have a whole new perspective on “Be ye holy for the Lord your God is holy.” It’s not about rules. It’s not about comparison. It’s about relationships. Being holy brings you to a closer relationship with God, not because you are His star Christian. Not because you have earned it. Being more and more like God brings you closer and closer to Him.
You see two friends. They can finish each other's sentences. They know each other’s favorite coffee shop, TV shows, stores, places to eat etc. They know each other from spending time together. Talking to each other. Learning about each other. This relationship has grown closer due to their mutual interest in each other. If it is a healthy relationship there are also boundaries. There are things these friends do and don’t do. I am sure one friend doesn’t steal from the other. I bet there is no physical abuse present. THe list of things go on and on. Now these may be silly examples, but they are boundaries friends respect nonetheless.
God desires a close, deep, personal relationship with you. He knows everything there is to know about you...He knows your thoughts before you think them. He knows the desires of your heart. He even knows the number of hairs on your head! He desires for you to know Him. He is a holy God. He does not commune with sin. Therefore, to grow intimately close to Him means to be more and more like him. It means following His Word and doing as it says. It means to be less consumed with things that the world says is important.
My friend grew in her relationship with God, but she also grew in her relationships with those around her. One of the most significant things that stood out to me was how those relationships became healthier. There were changes in the relationships. There were things done differently. It wasn’t oppressive or burdensome. It was freeing actually. I watched as boundaries were placed to protect those involved in the relationship. Boundaries are never meant to be used as punishment...quite the opposite….they are meant for the good treatment of all parties involved. This person’s relationships were better than ever before.
God’s Word gives us boundaries in how we should conduct our lives with others. It warns us of things that are not safe. It instructs us to do things that are needed. It teaches us how to forgive. Boundaries protect relationships. Boundaries promote healthy relationships. Boundaries protect the heart..which is an important thing to protect because from it flow the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23). One of the greatest barriers to healthy relationships is a lack of boundaries and wrongdoing. One of the greatest gifts given by God is His Word. HIs Word helps us to have a more intimate relationship with those we love and with Him! Chose to have a life full of healthy, intimate relationships designed by the Creator for our benefit and His glory.
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