By Pastor Ryan Stockstrom

Harvest Fellowship Church

Is love limitless? Is there no limit to where love will go, be, or do? Does love ever say, “this far and no more?” I would contend that true love does. 

I find that boundaries and limits are actually loving in nature. One of the most loving things you can say to a child is ‘no’. Or no further. We see this practically in fenced-off yards. Why the fence? To keep a boundary between your child and the street or the loose dog that’s wandering around. We say ‘no’ to eating only chocolate all day long. (ok, most days) We know that limiting the amount of sweets, fats, and foods high in cholesterol will help produce a body that isn’t sick.  It’s not loving to ourselves or others to continually eat junk. 

We have limits, set boundaries, and make rules for ourselves and the ones we have authority over. Why? Because we are mean tyrants who don’t allow any fun? No; because of love.

We don’t have to be harsh, aka ‘unloving’, in the dispensation of the rules. But, it’s certainly not wrong to set them and enforce them.  And it’s not that we don’t understand or have compassion when people break them or go beyond the limits. What child hasn’t touched the proverbial hot stove even when mom said, ‘you shouldn’t do that?” Like Christ, we welcome those who go beyond the limits and return, with love. Very similar to the story of the prodigal son who realized that when he lived beyond his father’s limits, he was starving to death- longing to eat the food he was feeding to pigs. He humbled himself and returned home to his father. His father ran to him, embraced him, and killed the fattened calf upon his return.  

What does true, real love look like? The bible teaches God is love. And he sent Jesus to live that love perfectly.  Jesus literally personified love.  Was Jesus’s love limitless? On one hand Jesus’ love for sinners was limitless in how he reached out to meet them where they were. He ate with them when no one else would. He showed them dignity and compassion when others wanted to only throw stones. He ultimately died for them, and all of us who have ever crossed one of the boundaries His Father set in place out of love (that’s all of us).   

But one thing he didn’t do: agree with their sin – their decisions to leave the boundary His father set. After healing people, Jesus would often say, “Go now, and leave your life of sin.” (see John 8:11) In doing so, he was upholding the fact that His father’s boundaries were good. Why? Because they offered life and protection and healing. His father’s boundaries were made in love because he literally knows what is the best path for us, his creation.

It seems people today are doing their hardest job to either redefine the boundaries God gave out of love. Or to try to make a version of God based on their own desires (re-create the boundary-maker in their own image to suit their desires). Or lastly, redefine love as having no boundaries….which is well…unloving. Oh, that we would return to the Father of our souls and his loving boundaries, and live!