Condemnation or Love?

Written on 11/09/2021
Christian Dunn

Verse: Galatians 5:19-21

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Some people might read this passage and see it as a list of "don't's." It may feel like one of those guilt-inducing religious texts that pastors use to condemn you or try to control you. However, I would argue differently.

This passage isn't a condemnation passage or a religious guilt passage. It is actually a passage of love. 

I have boundaries in my life. I am an adult, and I have free will. I can do what I want. But I have boundaries in my life. These boundaries are made out of love.

For instance, I will not look at porn. I could. But I won't. Because I love myself and I know what looking at porn can do to you. And I love my wife, and I don't want to hurt her.

Another example: I won't get drunk. Why? Because, again, I love myself. I know that getting drunk is often an unhealthy escape from the problems of your life. Instead, I try to deal with the problems in my life head on through therapy, prayer, and friendships.

I could go on. I won't flirt with women who aren't my wife. I won't use loudness or physical touch to intimidate my kids. I won't lie to people. And so on.

These are all based on love. I love myself. I love my wife. I love my family. I love my friends. 

Boundaries are good. These are boundaries I have for myself. But maybe thinking about my kids makes more sense. As God makes boundaries for us, so also we make boundaries for our kids. I have rules for my kids to protect them, even when they disagree with them, because I love them.

Do you see the connection? God has boundaries for us, not because he wants to condemn us, but because he loves us. He wants to protect us and show the way to the most flourishing life.

Today, take a moment to think about the places in your life where maybe you are crossing God's boundaries. When you cross them, does it produce life in you? Or pain and struggle? And how can we learn to follow his rules more often?

Show me how much you love me Jesus. Show me that your boundary lines are good for me, and come from your love.