From the Archives: Why Missions Needs Boundaries

originally published January 5, 2019

One of the greatest challenges in missions is balancing our love for people, with our understanding that they have a sin-nature.

I had a conversation this morning with a woman who had begun allowing one of her grand-daughters friends to come over and play at their house. She was always careful to feed him, and give him money for a treat if her grand-daughter got one. It wasn’t till recently she learned he had been stealing her money a little bit at a time.

  • My heart goes out to this grandmother because she saw a child in need, and helped him.
  • But I see how that love created an attitude of entitlement on his part,  which eventually led to taking what he wanted from her

Sadly this isn’t anything new…early in ministry I realized the hard way meeting all the needs of those around you just creates an attitude of dependence because people with a sin-nature will never truly be satisfied.

This, of course, doesn’t mean we don’t meet any of their needs or think that those needs aren’t important. Instead it means we don’t meet every one of them.

In other words there must be boundaries….

For me some of those boundaries are built on two important rules:

  1. nobody in my house without my permission
  2. and nobody comes onto the porch without my inviting them there

And since rules must be enforced of course, I have a guard dog named Vincy on the porch who makes sure people don’t come through the gate without permission.

Honestly I wish life wasn’t this way

  • I wish you could leave your door unlocked and open without fear of anyone stealing
  • Or walk alone at night without worrying about what might happen
  • Or let everyone into your home freely
  • But you can’t

Because the world is never truly satisfied, sometimes you have to set up boundaries and guard-dogs. And remember sometimes saying no is the most loving thing you can do.

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