The question this blog post answers was one sent through during our Lift Talks a couple of weeks ago, and Jenny Fox has graciously written her response to it. This is how she would tackle that question:
In a relationship with a person who doesn't respect boundaries, the first thing to consider is if this relationship is one I need to, or value enough to maintain, and to what level. If this person is a family member, then I am not suggesting you cut them off, but there are relationships that are unhealthy, and not vital to our well being or our future, so should be cut off or restricted.
An unhealthy relationship with a person who does not show respect to you and your values is dangerous and destructive. Consider well before investing large amounts of time to 'teach' them to change their ways and show respect as they may be happy the way they are.
If you desire to work on the relationship, work out which boundaries are being crossed and how important they are. For example, if someone is asking you to lie for them, that's a boundary you should not cross. If they are lonely and come over your house more than you want, perhaps you could help them find new interests, new friends, and be up front with the responsibilities and commitments you have, so there's greater understanding.
Remembering that God's boundaries for all relationships are set out in His word: eg.
- Honour your Father and Mother.
- Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Prefer one another in love.
- Forgive your brother 70 x 7.
- Submit to one another.
Being flexible and gracious is a beautiful thing. If you believe the person is unaware of the effect of their actions, and does not do the things that you find unacceptable out of disrespect, but out of lack of experience, or lack of understanding, or immaturity, then pray for patience, love them and model good boundaries. Chances are they will learn to be a blessing in your life, and be grateful for your input and friendship.
Jenny has a fantastic blog of her own that you should check out if you would like more advice on family and relationships: https://thewisefox.com/