Best-selling Boundaries Updated

Time-tested principles applied to modern day lifestyles.

Longtime writing team Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend updated their best-selling Boundaries resource to include society’s most relevant topics of interest to today’s Christian … that of the constant contact brought about by social media. Readers who were first introduced to Cloud and Townsend’s book many years ago (and with sales exceeding 2 million copies) will discover fresh insight as well as time-tested, reliable biblical principles for putting into place healthy boundaries across the board.

The authors describe through story the problematic issue of life without boundaries then offer its answering biblical model.

“A boundary-less life simply doesn’t work well. When we aren’t clear about what we want and don’t want, we give up control of our choices to other people instead of having our own self-control,” Townsend says. “We often spend countless hours and lots of energy enabling people who need to experience consequences for their behavior. God intended a sane life to be one in which we have great, loving relationships and control over our time and energy.”

[subhead] Healthy Relationships

The authors recognize the basic need for relationship with others and guide readers toward making choices that enhance those bonds. Townsend states that healthy boundaries will provide a framework for healthy relationships. Townsend encourages people to look for three character traits in others.

“First, are they loving? Do they want to hang around you because of you, or because of your usefulness to them? Secondly, do they take responsibility for their choices, or do they excuse their behavior, or worse yet, insist on you taking responsibility for their lives? Thirdly, do they respect your freedom and your choices? Can you say ‘no’ and them not have an attitude about it, and still be connected in a positive way with you?” The authors understand the unhealthy bent for those who have been raised in abusive homes to allow others to mistreat them in adulthood. Yet they believe that these unhealthy patterns can be unlearned.

“The research shows that one of the primary results of abuse is that one’s boundaries are not clear. Often, the person who has experienced abuse will take the stance of ‘I’m not worth having a choice, so let others have their way’ to ‘I’m helpless and can’t protect myself’ to ‘the conflicts I have with others are all my fault,’” Townsend shares.

[subhead] Work and Ministry

While this text equips readers to have solid boundaries in their personal relationships, it also carries over into work and ministry-related ones as well. Cloud explains that the principle of Freedom = Responsibility = Love sets people free to make their own choices, thereby they learn to take responsibility for those choices by using the standard by which one judges whether or not the decision is destructive to them or others.

[subhead] Bookstore Connection

Cloud wants Christian booksellers to know that Boundaries is still growing in sales. “It’s requested as a speaking topic by churches, marriage events, singles events, corporate events, church outreaches, and emotional and mental health trainings. Literally, this topic spans all generations and contexts. It’s a gift from parents to children, friend to friend, counselor to counselee, pastor to parishioner, sibling to sibling, employer to employee.”

Both authors value Christian bookstores for their ability to point buyers to the right resource for the specific challenge they are facing. Cloud says, “I love it when I can say to a salesperson, ‘I am looking for something that will answer X question or need in my life’ and they know exactly how to do that and connect me with the right resource. Amazon cannot do that as well,” says Cloud.

Likewise, Townsend notes that he loves browsing in Christian stores. “They have a personal interest in the value of the content of the books they sell and recommend. So many of the people I talk to around the world have told me they found Boundaries because someone in a Christian bookstore told them that the book would help their particular situation.”

—Michele Howe