This morning’s sermon included some great takeaways from the story of Jesus healing the paralytic in Luke 5, and it caused me to wonder about two questions: 1) Do Christians ever use the need and importance of “healthy boundaries” as an excuse to not be patient and compassionate with people? 2) Is the popularity of topics such as healthy boundaries and dealing with toxic people/situations on the rise because many Christians are too tired to effectively walk through these situations?
Before you watch the video, I want to start by saying 1) Please don’t take what I say in this video to an extreme – I understand there are times and situations where people need to remove themselves for various reasons. And 2) I’m still learning too 🙂 If you’re living a situation like anything I describe, please know I do not at all mean any of this in a condescending way. I’m examining myself in this just as much as general examples that I’ve seen and heard over the years.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! (The notes are below if you want a quick summary):
“One day He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing. And some men were carrying on a bed a man who was paralyzed; and they were trying to bring him in and to set him down in front of Him. But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’” - Luke 5:17-20 (NASB)
After reading through this passage, the pastor asked two great questions:
- Do you have friends like this?
- Are you a friend like this?
As he asked those questions, my mind went to how common it is to hear about setting “healthy boundaries” or cutting out toxic people/situations. What weighs on me about this, though, is that some of the characteristics used to describe “toxic” people are usually also characteristics of people who are hurting and in need of help.
In the example of the paralytic, can you imagine how different his story would have been if his friends saw the crowd, put him down, and said, “Ok, we’ve gotten you this far but we don’t think we can help anymore. You’ll need to do the rest yourself.” The man was paralyzed – He wouldn’t have been able to go any farther without the help of his friends.
My first question from this was:
Do Christians ever use “healthy boundaries” as an excuse to not have patience or compassion on people?
We already know that brokenness shows itself in not-so-pretty ways sometimes, and broken people don’t always know where to find the healing – Almost like the paralyzed man unable to bring himself to Jesus by himself.
Second, this passage caused me to ask:
Is the rising popularity in topics such as healthy boundaries and how to handle toxic situations partially caused by Christians being too tired to know how to support people who are showing not-so-pretty characteristics because of some other wound or obstacle they are wrestling?
There is certainly a need for healthy boundaries, but if we as Christians believe in a message that truly sets people free, is there really such a thing as someone who is too needy? Again, I am not saying Christians should be subject to the every whim of other people. But, could it be that many of us have gotten used to living a life that is less than what God desires to do through the Body of Christ because it’s all we’ve ever known? Could it be there is so much more healing and freedom than what we see, but because the Body isn’t strengthened and totally reliant upon God in the way it needs to be, it cannot sustain the healings and breakthroughs that are possible and available?
I so love 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NKJV)
If we truly believe that, doesn’t that mean there is nothing too strong for the freeing, redemptive power of God? And if we truly believe that to be the case, do we stick with people, fully reliant upon God, refusing to give up on people who are in need of Christians to come alongside them as they battle through strongholds that have in some cases been at work for years?
Would love to hear your thoughts!