Hold a Boundary Conversation

Proverbs 19:19

Hot-tempered people must pay the penalty. If you rescue them once, you will have to do it again.

God respects boundaries in relationships.

God Himself turns from those who create a boundary between Him and themselves.

But He desires to break down what He can.

Jesus broke the veil -- a religious, man-made boundary -- to create intimacy between mankind and God.

Boundaries, however, are a part of a relationship to keep it safe and secure.

Boundaries can help protect one from sin by another.

A boundary is not a form of control, however.

The instinct of humans is to exert control over the other person. And to treat someone's behavior as sin just because it's not based on one's expectation of that person.

The Verse

The verse above references both God's disposition towards those who cannot control their wrath against others (hot-tempered) as well as providing guidance for His people. The "rescuing" is often an enablement and permissiveness -- living without boundaries.

While this habit is not just about anger, it is a primary one because it breaks relationships so thoroughly.

For example, if under threat of physical harm, you can't stop your spouse. But you can establish a boundary and move out of harms way. That is a valid boundary.

The boundary is first called out, "You are holding a knife while yelling at me. As a result, I'm going to stay at a hotel tonight, and will stay there till you make it safe to return."

However, there are other ways to cross the boundary: criticism, sarcasm, insults, harsh words.

Clarity and escalation. "Please stop raising your voice at me and hurtling insults. The next time you do that, I'll leave the room or delete these texts."

If this is a common pattern, preparing yourself in advance on how you will describe and execute upon the boundary helps in the moment.

When there's a violation, know in advance what will happen that has both grace and consequence.


How would you feel if your spouse were to call you out in anger-driven behavior with a boundary? What is your reaction?

What kinds of behaviors do you feel you would like to call a calm and reasonable boundary? And are you sure it's a boundary against genuine sin (harm, theft, abrasiveness, control) versus its running against an expectation you have placed?r


Address Anger
Bring Your Expectations to Light

Notes for this Article