“See this pile of stones,” Laban continued, “and see this monument I have set between us. They stand between us as witnesses of our vows. I will never pass this pile of stones to harm you, and you must never pass these stones or this monument to harm me. I call on the God of our ancestors—the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of my grandfather Nahor—to serve as a judge between us.” So Jacob took an oath before the fearsome God of his father, Isaac, to respect the boundary line.”
Genesis 31:51-53 NLT
There comes a time where we have to draw a line of respect. When we notice that people are no longer good for us and they have repeatedly taken advantage of us, then it’s time to draw the line.
Dr. Henry Cloud is an expert on establishing healthy boundaries to resolve family dysfunction. In his book, “Setting Healthy Boundaries,” Dr. Cloud says that when we are enmeshed with our family and we don’t have clarity on what we are responsible for and what they are responsible for; we have to set healthy boundaries.
Jacob had served his Uncle Laban for 20 years. He had deceived Jacob by giving him the wrong wife and had changed his wages 10 times! Jacob had enough and left. Laban went after Jacob but God warned Laban in a dream, “Leave Jacob alone!”
When Laban catches up with Jacob and his two wives which happen to be Laban’s daughters, they make a covenant and set a boundary marker.
What was the purpose?
- I will not come past this marker to harm you. Laban felt a certain kind of way about Jacob’s success. His attitude had changed. When people attitudes change you have to set up boundaries. They don’t get access to you like they used to do. They shouldn’t be able to call like they used to. They can’t share your space like they used to. If they can’t handle your success they shouldn’t be in your space or your face.
- They can’t have claim to your stuff. Jacob had earned all the livestock and the children he had. Laban was still saying, “ You have my flocks and my grandchildren.” This boundary marker showed them that there was a line they could not cross any longer to show what belonged to who. Just because people feel entitled to your stuff doesn’t mean they have access. Set up boundaries that people can’t cross. You don’t owe people anything that you worked for. It’s your discretion as to what you give and don’t give.
- May the Lord watch between us when we are absent from one another. God is the one who watches the boundary lines. The Holy Spirit is your alarm that goes off whenever somebody crosses the boundary line. When you feel like you have been encroached something in your spirit will urge you to speak up and say, “Stop. You are crossing the line!” Even when you’re not looking; God is and he will let you know when your boundaries have been violated.
This year you should set up healthy boundaries with family and friends especially if they have taken advantage of you one time too many!
I love my family and my friends but I need to establish some healthy boundaries so that I can know what I’m responsible for and what they are responsible for. At some point I have to look out for the well-being of my immediate family and disconnect from that which is unhealthy. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit to know when people have crossed the line. Thank you for my family and friends because without them I would not have been successful. But now help me to establish healthy boundaries and watch between us so that we will no longer cross the line to hurt one another.
In Jesus’ Name,