This morning a fb friend posted Proverbs 25:28 on their wall this morning and it’s been bugging me ever since.
New International Version (©2011)
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
New Living Translation (©2007)
A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
Click for my commentary:
English Standard Version (©2001)
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
A man who does not control his temper is like a city whose wall is broken down.
Such a cryptic verse chock full of meaning. Cities need gates and biblical cities had gates for different purposes. The gates need to be guarded, but they can’t be impenetrable. The waste needs a way of getting out; food must come in. Look at the differences in translation. Like a city that is broken into. Ok- so the walls were there but were not strong enough to withstand temptation. They were shifty and untrustworthy. What kind of self-control are we talking about? Self-control doesn’t necessarily mean not going off on someone. I can generally hold my tongue but sometimes I have to make myself speak in order to not let bitterness stew. That’s an issue of self-control, making ourselves do something fairly unnatural because ‘it’s the right thing to do’.
So it looks like walls are a good thing- unnatural but good. Unless we’re talking about a cave, a lot of effort is put into building walls and it’s done in faith that there are elements or enemies to protect oneself against but also that there are times when having an unnatural barrier between 2 areas is not a good thing. Gates need to open- wisely, in time, they must have a purpose. Cities need a blueprint, walls need definition, the gates need to be in logical effective spots.
So many potential directions to take this one. A house or a storefront without a door is telling passersby that there’s nothing of value inside.
Doors are crucial; they don’t help much if a large window is left wide open, or if the walls are falling down. If everything’s important, nothing’s important.
This is of course not an unfamiliar verse, but this ‘boundaries’ thing has been on my mind quite a bit lately. The topic is everywhere. It was even Chris Fabry’s [2nd] topic of the day today; driving home thinking about this verse and lines, walls and how I should not let other people dictate my emotions or walk all over me, arbitrary discomfort at having ‘gone too far’. Annoyance at feeling manipulated by actions that didn’t bug ya the first six times.
It’s an issue at work right now and in considering whether I’ll apply to stay on after my current seasonal position ends. It’s an issue at my volunteer job. It has certainly been an issue in both current and past relationships of all types: professional, platonic, semi-platonic. Friendships are hard to maintain and boundaries are hard to define. Relationships are both extremely intentional and quite coincidental- we spend time with the people we are around. We can make an effort to be around certain people but then it’s no longer coincidental and can quickly become cumbersome because of the lack of a stated purpose.
I don’t have an answer but I do know that I am bound by time. A specific meeting is calling my name so I’ll post, run, take a deep breath and take a similar more personal post about the Cha Cha dance called Christian dating/ coed friendships off of private. A really deep breath. This boundaries things will not be resolved anytime soon, at least not in my mind, but the moral of that other post is that that’s ok. The struggle is beautiful.
I’d rather struggle through it together than solo.