“And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” Matthew 10:14 ESV
“I will not allow anyone to walk in my mind with dirty feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi
We are setting Boundaries. Yes, even Christians need to set boundaries.
Have you had someone viciously attack you on the internet? No name. Delete. No Dirty feet in our minds.
Many people use sarcasm to hurt others and build themselves up.
Many people are a drain on your time and money.
Many people are in the throes of addictions.
Many people are focused on money, control, power and status.
Many say apologies and repeat their offenses.
They aren’t ready.
And you can’t change them. The precious love you want to share is not received and they may “ turn to tear and devour you.” There will always be someone who is toxic in life. If anyone knew how to handle toxic people, it was Jesus. He could see right away who was genuine, manipulative, and craved dominion over him. The woman caught in adultery was dragged in front of the Jewish leaders of the day. Where was the guy? Doesn’t it take two to tango? Jesus handled the situation beautifully. The woman caught in adultery was probably ready. The Pharisees? I don’t know but I’m sure they thought a lot about “he who is without sin throw the first stone.”
Shake the dust off your feet. The Jews, in Jesus’ time, shook the dust off their feet to show separation from the gentiles. Jesus showed us a much better way: “If they will not receive you or listen to your words…” Have you had someone tell you how much they love you but repeatedly put you down, took your money, or invaded your privacy? I had a stalker in my life many years ago—tough lesson! If I just love him enough… Time for some boundary setting and protection. There is a wealth of information to help, especially Christian books and websites. Research this or ask your pastor, counselor or a mature friend how to start. Setting boundaries will not be pleasant but living in the prison of another is far worse. You can be a joyful child of God while learning how much you matter to Him. You can be more effective in the Kingdom because you know you’re valuable and your time is valuable. Boundaries.
Trial and error. Heartache drives us to pray and to learn. It’s just the way we humans roll. We need to ask ourselves, “Why do I let a person (fill in the blank) treat me this way? Do I treat others this way?” It seems we understand Jesus’ words so well after we’ve tried it our way, maybe many times. We don’t have to yell, cry, beg or plead. Just state the facts. Then shake the dust off your feet and move on.
The lifelong journey of discovery and love is set with safety railings, caution signs, stop signs and red lights.
The beauty of knowing your value. The beauty of knowing you’re loved. The beauty of growth. The beauty of courage: boundaries.
Thank you for your Son who is the perfect image of when to help, when to challenge and when to let go. Help us to realize our worth and to do or say what is appropriate in challenging situations, especially eliminating the destructive patterns that are ingrained in our hearts and minds. Thank you for your grace that covers our attempts and mistakes.
Thank you for loving, encouraging and valuing us. It’s incomprehensible.