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Boundaries Aren’t Just a Good Idea, They’re a God Idea

Boundaries Aren’t Just a Good Idea, They’re a God Idea

Editor’s Note: Good Boundaries and Goodbyes Online Bible Study by Lysa TerKeurst starts 7/24! Sign up today and join us as we learn how to have biblical boundaries for healthy relationships.


Welcome to session 1 of Good Boundaries and Goodbyes. If this is your first time gathering as a group, take a moment to introduce yourselves to one another before watching the teaching video. Then let’s dive in!

Leader Note: Before starting the video, have a few people share their responses to this question:

What are you most looking forward to as you begin this study? DEO:
(Running time: 22:00 minutes)

Leader Note: Play the teaching video for the Introduction and Session 1.


As you watch the video, use the outline below to help you follow along with the teaching and to take additional notes on anything that stands out to you.

God established the entire universe using boundaries to separate light from darkness, the sea from dry land, and the earth from the heavens.

The purpose of this study on boundaries isn’t so that we can shove love away. Quite the opposite. This is so we can know what to do when we very much want to love those all around us really well without losing ourselves in the process.

God’s ultimate assignment is for us to love Him and love others.

John 13:34–35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Love must be honest. Love must be safe. Love must seek each person’s highest good. And ultimately love must honor God.

Good boundaries and goodbyes should bring relief to the grief of letting other people’s opinions, issues, misplaced desires, and unhealthy agendas run our life.

Trust is the oxygen of all human relationships.

When we allow someone else access to us emotionally, physically, financially, mentally, spiritually, etc... we need to require them to be responsible with that access. If I give someone level 10 access but they are only willing or capable of level 3 responsibility... relational tension will exist. Trust will erode. And frustration will be ever increasing.

People who are irresponsible with our hearts should not be granted great access to our hearts.

Three words that can help us better understand the tension that exists in so many of our important relationships are:

  • Access
  • Responsibility
  • Consequences

Good Boundaries and Goodbyes

The greater access people had to God, the greater responsibility they had to demonstrate with the requirements for that access. And those given the greatest access also risked the greater consequences for violating those requirements.

Today, Jesus is the forever High Priest. And we (you and I) are the “royal priesthood.”

1 Peter 1:22

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Loving each other and treating each other well is not based on fickle feelings or even our mood for that day. . . . Love is shaped by the unchanging truth of God’s Word. So think about this: As God gives us great access to Him each day, it should make us all be more responsible and honestly more aware of what’s required for us to have access to others and for them to have access to us.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:17

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

We don’t draw boundaries to shove others away or even to try and make them change. We place boundaries on ourselves, so we can keep ourselves together, so we can be that royal priest God has called us to be.


(Suggested Time: 40–45 Minutes)

Leader Note: The ultimate goal for this time together is to have a meaningful discussion with others as you grow in your understanding of God’s Word. The following suggested questions are designed to guide you through a rich discussion time together. Feel at liberty to select from any of the additional questions as well.


  1. When it comes to boundaries, both those you’ve set and those that have been placed around you, you’ve likely had a range of experiences. Perhaps some were positive and others less so. Before watching this video, what feelings did you have whenever you thought about boundaries? Circle the following words that best represent how you have felt about boundaries prior to this study. You may circle as many as you like, and it’s okay if you have mixed emotions! Then share with your group what you circled.

disappointed flourishing skeptical hopeful curious free sad used safe unsure constricted exposed resentful grateful frustrated

  1. Please open your Bible and read Psalm 61:1–2. Other common emotions people might feel when talking about boundaries are “exhausted” and “confused.” How does this verse encourage and equip you with some of the harder feelings you might have?
  2. In today’s video, we learned that trust is the oxygen to all human relationships. Why is it important to consider trust in relationships when talking about boundaries?
  3. When we are considering the access we give to others, trust is crucial. For example, I doubt any of us would post our bank account information and passwords on social media today. If this is true with bank accounts and other external areas of importance, then it should also be true internally and with relationships. What are some other areas of your life where you have neglected to put protective boundaries in place?
  4. When God modeled access and responsibility, such as with the tabernacle which eventually turned into the temple, we need to remind ourselves it’s not being done as a penalty or punishment. When you experience boundaries, where does your mind and heart naturally turn to? Why?
  5. Read 1 Peter 2:9 aloud: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Today, you and I are the royal priesthood with access to God’s presence. As a group, discuss the four characteristics mentioned in 1 Peter 2:9 and why they are important to the access God has granted to us.
  6. Open your Bibles and have a different person in your group each read a passage aloud: John 14:6; Romans 5:1–2; Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 10:19–22. After reading each passage, discuss the benefits we receive as a result of our access to God. Of the four passages, which one sticks out to you most, and why?


  1. Reflect on this excerpt from today’s teaching, then answer the following questions:

“Here’s the mistake I’ve made—one that honestly I think we’ve all made—I’ve tried to put boundaries on the other person, hoping to get them to increase their level of responsibility up to the access I’ve granted them. But that doesn’t really work. You can’t make another person change. You can ask them to demonstrate more responsibility, but you can’t ‘boundary’ them into making changes they maybe aren’t willing or capable of making. So, the only real productive choice is for you to put boundaries in place that reduce the level of access you give to that person to match their level of responsibility.”

When it comes to having healthy boundaries in our lives, this is a powerful paradigm shift. We don’t place boundaries on others, we place boundaries on ourselves. And we do this by recognizing the level of responsibility another person has demonstrated and then choosing to give that person the appropriate level of access to our hearts. This isn’t stinginess on our parts. This is wisdom. But our past experiences might make us reluctant to practice this effectively in our lives.

Do you feel any reluctance to putting such boundaries in place in your life? If so, what do you think is the reason for your hesitation?

  1. We’ve covered a lot of ground in just this first session already. What is one Bible verse that has stood out to you? Write it in the space below.
  2. As you continue to process all you’ve learned today, spend a few moments writing down any situations, circumstances, or relationships that you want to put before the Lord. Consider returning to this list throughout the week and ask God to give you wisdom and discernment in how you can make the very best decisions to ensure a healthy envi- ronment and relationships.

CLOSING: (Suggested time: 5 minutes)

Leader Note: Read the following instructions and clarify any questions your group may have pertaining to the homework and what each participant should do between now and the next session. Then take a few minutes to pray over your group. You may pray either your own prayer or the prayer provided below.


Lord, as we begin this journey to learn more about You and the healthy boundaries You prescribe in Scripture, we first want to thank You for being a God who cares so much for each of us that You desire for us to be whole, and the boundaries You have designed lead to wholeness. Forgive us for the times we have resisted Your boundaries and help us to receive Your boundaries as truly life-giving. Grow in us the ability to trust You more and more, especially as we discover what it means to implement healthy boundaries in our own lives. We are in awe of Your amazing goodness, and we give You all our praise. In Jesus’ name, amen.

* * *

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on session one of Good Boundaries and Goodbyes. We want to hear from you!

Don't miss the Good Boundaries and Goodbyes Online Bible Study by Lysa TerKeurst starting 7/24! Sign up today!