Friday, October 16, 2009

Boundaries, part I

I can't remember if I've talked about boundaries here before. I know I have else where, had discussions and what not with other bloggers over boundaries. I'd like to talk about boundaries as it pertains to something I see in Song of Solomon (SOS) but feel I need to lay some ground work. Thus, this short series on boundaries.

And don't worry, I'll not go over the books written on boundaries by two Christian men. Most of the people who come here most likely have already read them. But in case someone comes along here's a link to their amazon listing.

You don't have to read any of these books to understand what I'm going to write about. But it wouldn't hurt to read them for the sake of the rest of your life.

Okay, enough about that.

For those who don't know, I worked, for a time, in a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. The 'cottage' I worked in had 9 girls (ages 13-17), 7 of which had been prostitutes at one time including the youngest.

One thing I learned was that most of these girls had boundary issues resulting from the fact that those who should have been caring for them growing up did not respect their boundaries. Many, if not all, of these girls had been sexually molested or raped by family members, mother's boyfriends, their own friends or boyfriends. In other words, their personal boundaries had been trampled on by people who didn't know enough or care enough to respect their boundaries.

So one of the things that our treatment facility was trying to train them was how to recognize and respect their own boundaries and the boundaries of others. When someone came too far into their personal space, some of them would put up a hand and say, "Boundaries!" and the others knew what she meant. Sometimes it was a joke, like playing around. Sometimes they didn't take it seriously. But at least someone somewhere was trying to teach them how to protect their own boundaries.

Viewing this in that treatment facility and then reading the Cloud and Townsend books really opened my eyes to what boundaries are and how so many in this world don't respect them, at all.
And this disrespect for boundaries is also present within the church.

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