Picking back up where we left off in the first part of the chapter 5 review, we’ll begin by looking at Law 6 and proceed through the rest of the chapter. If you haven’t read the first part, check it out before reading here to help make sense of how the chapter wraps up here.
Law 6: The Law of Evaluation
Ephesians 4:25 (as referenced by the author) clearly and simply summarizes this law. It states “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” This law isn’t so much concerned with the “if” we set boundaries, but rather the “how” we set boundaries. There is a mighty big difference between hurting someone and harming someone when setting your boundaries. To illustrate the difference between hurting and harming, think of a splinter in a child’s palm or foot. To remove the splinter and sterilize the area will cause a temporary hurt. It will be painful to remove the splinter, and if you sterilize with rubbing alcohol or soap some added sting will be felt. However, if you ignore the splinter and allow it to become infected you will be in effect harming the child. By choosing to avoid a time of pain we can often cause greater harm down the road. The law of evaluation encourages us to embrace the pain of confrontation because the benefits afterward are well worth it (avoiding long-term harm, and promoting healing).
Law 7: The Law of Proactivity
In a nutshell, the Law of Proactivity is characterized by the realization that no matter what has happened to you in the past you must move on. Many times it’s a sudden, explosive separation from those who have been violating you and your boundaries (if they exist at all). However, after life calms down and the emotions have been expressed, it’s crucial to begin the process of healing. Galatians 5:13 states “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” After you have separated from those hurting you, you can live in freedom. With this freedom, a choice has to be made. You cannot forever live in the past as a victim. You must move on and set up healthy boundaries to live with and serve others as we are called to do. This is the proactivity needed to leave victimhood behind and embrace freedom.
Law 8: The Law of Envy
James 4:2 states “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” This passage could not define the Law of Envy any better. Reaching all the way back to the Fall of Man in early Genesis of the Bible, envy has been with the human race ever since. The problem with envy is that it focuses on others who are outside of your boundaries, rather than yourself. Since we know, from previous chapters, we can only control what’s within our boundaries. Looking outside of our boundaries can be a dangerous and slippery slope. By spending the time putting other’s accomplishments, choices, and lives down, we rob ourselves of the time and energy needed to discover what’s missing in our own life. Envy is natural, and it’s how we react to it that makes all the difference. Being proactive in building the life God wants for us rather than comparing ourselves to others is the best remedy for bouts of envy. Look inward to God rather than outward at others when you feel you are missing something in your life(Galatians 6:4).
Law 9: The Law of Activity
One of the first lessons you learn in Physics is about Potential Energy. Potential energy is energy that is stored and waiting to be released or exerted on something as its conditions change. An example to help illustrate this would be to think of a Car Battery (or any other battery really). Sitting on a table or on the floor and connected to nothing the energy stored inside is potential. However, when we put the car battery into a vehicle and connect it, the chemical energy flows and starts the car. Potential energy doesn’t do us much good. God’s Word tells us that in life we’re not to be like a car battery sitting on the floor. We’re to be connected and active! We must be willing to allow ourselves to try and fail, rather than not try at all. Sure, we may not be able to “start the car” every time, but a battery not connected is useless. When it comes to our boundaries, we must be proactive in setting and maintaining them. The world will push against us, and Satan will try daily to invade. This is why we must always be aggressive and active in pushing back against what would rob us, enslave us and hurt us.
Law 10: The Law of Exposure
We live near a rather large state forest. On any given Saturday, you’ll find us driving and spending time in these woods. As we drive through the state forest, there are pieces of property that are owned by individuals rather than the state. Each one of the pieces of property is VERY CLEARLY marked with No Trespassing signs. The boundaries of the owners are clearly exposed to anyone passing by. This is how we need to be in all of the relationships in our lives. We cannot hide our boundaries from others because when we do we’ll get hurt, offended or violated (among other things). When we expose our boundaries to others, we cast light on the situation and things become very clear. Not everyone will be happy about the nature of your boundaries, but it will be very clear to them. When boundaries are hidden, there is room for confusion, resentment, and manipulation. We cannot let our fear of what others will think or feel about us to keep our boundaries hidden.