Healthy Boundaries Resource

‘More people suffer from trying to change or control others than any other disease’

 Some Key Scriptures: 

Matt 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Prov 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Prov 25:28 A man without self-control
    is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Psalm 139:23-24  Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!


How are boundaries developed?

The most devastating effects of the Fall were relational (Gen 3:1-19). Our ability to have healthy relationships with God, self and others was damaged. Early life experiences are the key to our relationship skills and patterns. Boundaries are not inherited – they are learned.


What do healthy boundaries look like?

Looking to God to have our needs met.

The ability to say “no” and hear “no” without fear.

Taking responsibility for the consequences of your choices and the ability to allow others to experience the consequences of their choices.

Having realistic expectations in relationships.

The ability to manage your emotional responses.

Not feeling a need to manipulate or control others and recognizing the attempts of others to control or manipulate you.

Integrity – being able to make and keep promises to yourself.


As individuals we are responsible for:

Our feelings, our beliefs, our attitudes, our fears, our choices and our responses.


It can be helpful to identify if any of these buttons are triggers for you or those you are pastoring/leading:  

Button #1 – The disease to please (Approval addiction)

Button #2 – Fear of rejection or abandonment

Button #3 – Emotophobia: Fear of ‘negative’ emotions

Button #4 – Lack of assertiveness (Can’t say no)

Button #5 – The vanishing self (Relational Chamelon)

Button #6 – Always to the rescue!

Button #7 – Learned helplessness (Victim Mentality)


Three key symptoms of boundary problems are:

  1. Lack of objectivity – The inability to see situations as they really are.
  2. A warped sense of responsibility – Enabling irresponsibility, Neglect of self and Resenting others
  3. Control Issues


How to develop healthier boundaries

  1. Start with what you are responsible for.
    • Are there any changes you need to make?
  2. Own your emotions – they belong to you
    • Emotions don’t happen to us, they are an inner signal prompting a response
  3. Build a support system and be a support person to help yourself and others
    • Find loving people who will speak truth into your life and be that loving firm but gentle voice in the life of those you are pastoring
  4. Clean up your language
    • Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements
    • Watch key words or phrases, “You make me…” “You should…” rather honour others sovereignty “I think you should consider…”
  5. Use the 3-step approach to restoring boundaries to a relationship
    • Clearly communicate your love to the person
    • Explain your boundaries & limits on acceptable behaviour
    • Define the consequences of violating these limits
  6. Get an outside perspective when necessary

Breaking a destructive relationship cycle

IDENTIFY – What’s really going on inside of me right now? Slow down and unscramble the moment. Give a name to what you are feeling. Own your feelings they are your responsibility.

DETACH – What’s really going on in this situation? Step back and objectively determine who’s doing what to whom. Consider several options – you don’t have to react the same way you always do.

DECIDE – Choose a response that defines and defends your boundaries without violating anyone else’s!


So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matt 7:12

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