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Love Has Lines

In my 47 years, I have never once taken time to appreciate people whose job it is to paint lines on parking lots. That is, until my favorite grocery store paved their parking lot, but failed to have any lines painted. The parking was complete chaos! It was as if no one had knowledge of how parking worked. Cars were going in different directions and there were parking pile ups where there should have been lanes. It was hard to believe that simple lines could be so vital to something as simple as parking.

Boundaries can be extremely helpful in life. Years ago, I remember an interview with Will Smith in which he regretfully told that he and his wife’s parenting approach was to let their children raise themselves. The idea behind the progressive parenting was that children are born with good instincts and ultimately know what is best for them. “That turned out to be a really bad idea.”, Smith commented.

Children need parameters, parking lots need lines and society certainly needs boundaries. One of the profound ways we show love is by putting up lines. Lines that give structure, provide protection and give definition; overall lines give us confidence and guidance. Like the rails on bowling lanes, boundaries keep us from falling in the gutter, they keep us heading in the right direction.

Laws provide boundaries that are needed for us to function and get along, but the ultimate source of boundaries needed to bring assurance and peace is the Bible. However, sometimes boundaries can be misinterpreted as confinement. There are certain boundaries within God’s Word that would be easier to skip over. The problem with that is, when we pick and choose what boundaries we want in place for living, we are not accepting the Bible as God’s inherent Word.

Children will be among the first to say that the boundaries their parents put in place don’t feel like love. They feel more like restrictions that keep them from getting to the things they want. Christians are no different in some respects when it comes to the boundaries God gives us. He is a good Father who knows what is best for us, including the things that we need to stay away from. It may not feel like love, but scripture tells us that God disciplines those he loves in Hebrews 12:6.

We often confuse discipline with punishment, but becoming disciplined in God’s Word will help us to manage our lives in a way that is consistent with His character. When we allow God to discipline us, we avoid consequences that feel a lot more like punishment. That just goes to show that God’s love is displayed just as much through boundaries as His grace.

No parent waits for their toddler to touch the stove or the campfire before explaining what hot means and how hot causes pain. That doesn’t always prevent the toddler from touching the heat source, but love was in place prior to the pain. That’s exactly what scripture does for us. Embracing God’s love lines for us will eliminate pain that He never wanted us to suffer in the first place.

Nadolyn has served in the local church for over thirty years. Creator of DIRT ROAD BELIEVER YouTube, Nadolyn delights in sharing her faith, family and community to help believers slow down and deepen their relationship with Christ.

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