Don't take things that aren't yours.
Do you remember hearing that back in kindergarten? What were teachers trying to implement in their classrooms with this rule? Boundaries! Yes, this word can create a mix of emotions. Often, the biggest one being confusion for us as adults. But children really do seem to understand this idea. Even though expressing their boundaries doesn't always look and sound pretty, they get the idea of "mine" pretty early on. They let everyone know what they need, what is theirs, and what they will and won't accept. That's because they, and we, are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and get this: GOD SETS BOUNDARIES. In the Old Testament, we read that He gives the Ten Commandments to show His people how to live rich, love-filled lives. In the New Testament, we see that He sends Jesus, who came to save us and set us free. Jesus lived a boundaried life - he didn't engage in disparaging conversations, didn't heal everyone, didn't always say yes, rested, took time away often, spoke truth, and always stayed on mission (as unpopular as this may have been to some folks). On the other hand, we tend to live boundary-less lives because we think saying "no" or standing up for ourselves is unchristian. So this week, as part of our Back to School series, we are taking a moment to look at our lives in relation to boundaries. Are there places/relationships where we feel resentment, bitterness, discouragement? Is it possible that those are spaces where we might consider setting boundaries? Here at The Chase is Real, we certainly are not experts in this area (far from it) and we are only just beginning this process ourselves. But the simple act of recognizing that boundaries are actually very much a part of living loved can have a powerful impact on our lives.
Have you ever been plagued with the inability to say "no?" As children, we get the message early on that to be accepted and valued we have to please, say "yes" always, and not disappoint the people in our lives. But God often says "no" or "not yet" and tells us in Proverbs 4:23 that we are to keep vigilant watch over our hearts because that's where life starts. So if saying "yes" is creating resentment or toxicity in our hearts, we need to consider the alternative. This week's song is an example of setting boundaries in life. As you listen, remember that sometimes the most loving thing we can do for our emotional, mental, and spiritual health is to say "no."
What relational wisdom we find in this week's verse! God makes boundaries so clear. We are told to "help each other in troubles and problems." The word "help" is so important here. We are not asked to take the troubles or problems of another, or be responsible for their happiness and comfort (a job only God can do). No, we are asked to help, to come alongside someone and walk with them, be there, relieve a little of the pressure. Over the next few days, take a moment and consider if you are taking the troubles and problems of others on as your own, or are you walking alongside them in support?