In Daryl Hall and John Oates’ classic song, “Private Eyes,” there is a portion of the lyrics that communicates the wisdom of being genuine instead of pretending to be what we are not. I enjoy listening to good wholesome music, but what I enjoy much more is reminding myself of the abiding presence of God, the private eyes that are not against me but for me. As believers in the body of Christ or the Church, I believe this is important for each of us to remember, and practice in our daily lives.
There is a great sense of acceptance and peace that comes with knowing that the God of all Creation loves and accepts us no matter what our sin or shortcoming might be. Of course, this does not mean that there will not be problems or conflicts with others. Many of us work very hard to win the favor and acceptance of others. Certainly, it is good to make such efforts as long as it does not cause excessive stress or anxiety. The book of Romans 12:18 (ESV) states: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” However, it is important to note the part that says, “if possible”, and “so far as it depends on you”. Each of us have our limits in our ability to change relationships and circumstances. The rest we must leave to the One who sees and knows all the details, and who has the Wisdom and Power to do what is best.
Therefore, having and maintaining healthy boundaries is essential. Healthy boundaries will keep us from being selfish or irresponsible and will also keep us from taking on the responsibilities of others which can result in false guilt. There are many today who suffer false guilt or shame that can be traced to a lack of acceptance by others with whom there is a broken relationship. Even though there may have been great effort to reconcile, such relationships may not be mended because of anger, resentment, or judgement by the other party. Unfortunately, there could also be superficial differences that cause conflicts, but it is important to know your limits in the relationship, and instead of constantly looking to the other person or persons to fulfill the need for love and belonging that Maslow declared that we all have, we can look to the God who is always present, and who knows us, and accepts us despite our faults. He is the one who truly understands you and He is the one who will provide for your needs, including good companionship.
If you are wondering how to connect with Him, it is very simple. All you have to do is accept Him, and as necessary, confess your fault or wrong to Him, remembering that He already knows. The private eyes, remember, except He is not watching you to judge you, but to be there for you as an abiding friend. The book of 1John 1:9 (ESV) states: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” You may have already known this, but I wanted to add this scripture in case you thought I was making this up.
Finally, if you struggle to believe that God is good, which I have notice many of us wrestle with when things go wrong in our lives, remember that Jesus came to give His life on the cross so that a new covenant could be establish, and someday a new kingdom. I know we like to see instant results, but for us, time is essential. The good news is, there are some who can help you through the process: counselors, clergy, or a good friend who will help you to see from a more positive perspective, or who will just be with you. Setting healthy boundaries may be more difficult for some than others, so if this is something that you struggle with, I encourage you to get the assistance that will help you to accomplish this.