So we begin to uncover the 10 Laws of Boundaries as uncovered by Drs. Cloud and Townsend in their (must read) book entitled “Boundaries: When to say yes and how to say no to take control of your life.”
Law # 1: The Law of Sowing and Reaping
To get this first law off the ground for us, I am going to quote directly from the book, page 86-87, so that the authors can best describe this law. “The law of cause and effect is a basic law of life. The Bible calls it the Law of Sowing and Reaping. You reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit (Gal. 6:7-8). When God tells us that we will reap what we sow, he is not punishing us; he’s telling us how things really are.”
“If you smoke cigarettes, you will likely develop smoker’s hack, and you may even get lung cancer. If you overspend, you most likely will get calls from creditors, and you may even go hungry because you have no money for food. Other the other hand, if you eat right and exercise regularly, you may suffer from fewer colds and bouts with the flu. If you budget wisely, you will have money for the bill collectors and for the grocery store.”
But there are times when someone does not reap what they sow because someone else steps in and reaps the consequences for them. If every time you overcharged on your credit card and your parents paid off the balance for you, you wouldn’t reap the consequences of your overspending ways. Later on in life you may continue to repeat those poor spending habits to your detriment. We find this to be the case many times when parents are constantly bailing out their children over actions that demand consequences. Then the children grow up to be adults who continue the maladaptive actions.
People who continually rescue other people in these ways are referred to as codependent. As Cloud and Townsend say on page 87, "codependent people are people without boundaries who 'cosign the note' of life for the irresponsible person. Then they end up paying the bills and other person’s consequences – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – all the while the spendthrift person continues to rack up more debt and more problems without any consequences."
So what do you do? One of the best responses I know of is to try to discern that this law is at work in someone’s life. It is not wrong to help someone in need, to help pay for a utility bill or credit card bill, to fix someone’s car, to buy a tire, to help with some medicine, or to assist with baby sitting expenses. It is not wrong to help but it is wrong to remove the law of sowing and reaping from someone who has not learned these life lessons yet. How is one to know? Discernment from the Holy Spirit is a great start.
See you next month with law # 2!
Grace and Peace,