How Jesus Set Healthy Boundaries (and How We Can, Too!) | Boundaries

In this blog series, we’ve been discussing the boundaries of the Christian life. We’ve talked about the boundaries and freedom God has given us, and we’ve talked about the boundaries we can set for ourselves as we pursue Christ.  

In this post, we’re talking about how to set healthy, God-honoring boundaries with others by examining how Jesus set boundaries during His earthly ministry. 

We’ve Been Called to Step into Brokenness 

 In Mark 1:29-34, we see Jesus standing at the door of Simon’s Mother-In-Law’s house healing anyone and everyone of sickness and demon possession.  

In verse 35, however, we see Jesus quietly go off to spend solitary time with the Father. When the disciples find Him again, He tells them it’s time to go even though there is still a crowd waiting to be healed (verse 38). 

So, did Jesus not care about the people who still needed healing? 

Of course He did! According to other gospel writers, the reason Jesus used His powers to heal people was because He was moved with compassion for their struggle. (Matt. 9:36-38) 

And just like Jesus, we should be moved by compassion for the suffering of those around us. We’ve been called to step into the brokenness of others and share with them the healing love of Christ. 

It’s important when we’re loving those around us that we set healthy, God-honoring boundaries like we see Jesus setting here. 

The Importance of Boundaries 

If we don’t set boundaries, we’re at risk of allowing other people’s brokenness to keep us in bondage when we’ve been given freedom in Christ. We’re also at risk of being distracted from the purpose God has for each of us. 

How to Set Healthy, God-honoring Boundaries 

When Jesus tells His disciples it’s time to leave in verse 38, He’s drawing a boundary. Here’s what we can learn about setting boundaries from His example: 

  • Seek healing for your own wounds. If you don’t heal from your own painful relationships, you’ll inevitably bring that hurt into new relationships. 
  • Recognize what is beyond your ability and trust what you cannot do to the One who can. True healing can only be sought after by the individual who needs it and only be granted by our Heavenly Father. 
  • Spend time in prayer and the Word so you can be reminded of His healing power and promises. If you’re not sure how to pray about a broken relationship, try using the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) as an outline!  
  • Surround yourself with other believers who can encourage your relationships. We need life-giving relationships in our lives for new input and teaching.1 

And finally, don’t stop short of the plan and purpose God has for your life. Healing and meeting people’s physical needs is a good thing, but Jesus drew a boundary because it wasn’t the main purpose of His earthly ministry. 

Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” – Mark 1:38 

Jesus came to tell the world a Savior had come to reconcile their relationship with God the Father. It’s a mission He has invited us, as His followers, to join in with Him. (Matt. 28:18-20) 

We can be doing good things in this life, but if these good things are keeping us from glorifying God by making disciples, we’re missing out on the plan and purpose He has for us. It’s a sign we need to draw a boundary. 

* This post is inspired by the third and final message of Mt. Bethel’s “Boundaries” Sermon Series entitled “Boundaries with Others” by Matt Lake, Executive Director of Next Gen Ministries. You can view the full message, as well as other sermons from this series, here. 

1“Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend