What Does “Healthy” Mean?

May 13, 2019

And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Peter is well known as the disciple who put his foot in his mouth with regularity in his early days with Jesus. However, his association with Jesus was an opportunity to grow and change. By the time he wrote this letter he was a leader in the church and had long since learned what makes for healthy relationship with God and people. He knew how to have healthy boundaries.

The key word for the way to relate with people in all situations, perhaps even more so in setting boundaries, is humility. Humility in boundaries means . . .

- Honest assessment of myself: not thinking I am bigger or more important than anyone else.
- Lack of harshness: direct honesty but not in a punitive or attacking way.
- Hopeful that this new action, setting boundaries, will give God room to work and everyone opportunity to grow.
- Helpful: setting guidelines for my own and others’ behavior that will assist us in having godly relationships.

God is more than willing to help us get the boundaries right in our lives if we approach them with humility. Peter found out in his own experience that God sets Himself in opposition to the proud, but He gives grace to those who are humble. Grace is divine favor, influence, and strength to do what is normally beyond us. God will pour out that grace on us as we intentionally choose humility in relating to people. If we set boundaries in humility, not anger, God has a chance to work unhindered.

  • The fact is, we generally don’t set boundaries unless we are angry and “have just HAD IT!” That guarantees a poor outcome and a broken relationship.
  • Where do you know you need to set a boundary before it goes too far?
  • Make the choice to think through what you need to say and how you need to say it. Practice.
  • Ask God to help you make an honest assessment of yourself and not condescend to the person with whom you need to talk, to be kindly honest, to communicate hopefulness for the future, and to say only those things that help.
  • Prayerfully set a time for the conversation.