Boundaries: When to End a Bad Relationship

Reviewing Boundaries website teachings and comparing them with Scripture.

Hope or Sin: Are "Boundaries" feeding selfish hearts or strengthening hearts for the Lord?

For an introduction and review of the Boundaries online teachings, see Are Henry Cloud's Boundaries Teachings Biblical?

 A man and woman sit angrily on the couch in the picture attached to the article When to Have Hope and When to End a Bad Relationship.

The article on the Boundaries website makes no distinction about relationships but states principles as relating to relationships in general.(1) We would expect this from a secular site, but the Boundaries authors present their teachings as biblical, and the Bible clearly differentiates between marriage and dating, between friendships and family relationships.

“Hope” is the key word in this article and while it isn’t clearly defined, we're told it's something we invest or withdraw in relationships based on our feelings: 

“The most fulfilled individuals know that hope is so valuable that they do not want to spend it on something, or someone, who does not warrant it...You must have the courage to create the 'necessary ending,' to what, or whom, is not working, and bring about new energy, and a new way, that can be the source of real hope instead of empty wishing.”

The Biblical definition of hope

Biblical hope is something God produces in us. It leads us to trust God, knowing He will work things for our good and give us strength to do the right things (Romans 8:28; Philippians 4;13). 

Romans 12:12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  

Romans 5:3-5: we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. 

Boundaries tells us that ongoing difficulty in a relationship may be a sign to spend our "hope" elsewhere. But that is not our right to decide. God places us in families, and dealing with prickly family members is one way we build character and find true hope.

Shall we hope in Boundaries or the Bible? For the Christian, the answer should be easy.

(1) It's possible that the Boundaries counselors make distinctions between dating and marriage relationships in their counseling sessions, but someone reading this article would not come away with that impression.

For a collection of helpful articles about specific Boundaries errors in their teachings about marriage, family, and church relationships, see Are Boundaries Biblical Collection.

Hope or Sin: Are "Boundaries" feeding selfish hearts or strengthening hearts for the Lord?

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