Love means setting boundaries
“They disciplined us for a little while, as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11
This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. It is a day when people all over the world pay homage to their mothers. It is a day of thanksgiving; we give thanks to God for mothers.
Mothers are special people. They give when there is nothing left to give. They care when they should just walk away. A mother’s love is probably the closest thing to God’s unconditional love.
As I reminisce about my youth, I grew up with many caring mothers around me. I say to myself, “I am blessed.” I grew up in a community and a Bahamas when children were the responsibility of the whole community. Those days, motherhood meant more than biology.
Most women in the community shared in the responsibility of rearing the children of that community. Many women who were called “grammy” and “auntie” had no biological relationship, except that they cared and nurtured the children around them.
The African proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, was very real and noticeable in our communities and in The Bahamas. The wider community such as neighbors and friends got involved. Someone said children are considered a blessing from God for the whole community.
For the most part, mothers and the wider community did not cloak their children when they did wrong. They cared enough to chastise them when they walked out of line.
Unfortunately, I have noticed in recent times that some mothers think love means allowing their children to do whatever they wish. They often refuse to believe reports of their children’s bad behavior. Love means setting boundaries.
The greatest love known to humankind comes from God. He loves his creation, unconditionally.
Even though God loves us unconditionally, his love does not allow us to do as we please. When we digress from the boundaries that God has set for us, we are chastised. There are rules which we must follow. God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
Mothers, you are called to love your children, however, in loving them, set boundaries for them. Do not love them too much that you do not chastise them.
Allowing your children to live without any control in place is not prudent. They eventually become a menace to you, the community and society at large. Allowing your children love without bonds is not love – in fact, I call it abuse.
Do not love your children too much not to chastise or correct them. Do not encourage them in their bad habits. God the creator, who loves more than any human, has set conditions for us because true love can only be expressed in the boundaries that we set.
When I was quite young, growing up, my parents chastised me when I did wrong. They did so because they really loved me.
The people of my communities corrected me because they had a special care for me. They wanted to see me grow into a responsible citizen. As I grew into adulthood, I realized how much I was loved. The people in my life showed concern by pointing out and correcting my waywardness.
During the coming days, please pray for our mothers and for our Bahamas. Happy Mother’s Day! Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone 426-9084; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.
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