Importance of boundaries: Daryl and Leslie Mayfield

Daryl and Leslie Mayfield were one of the first people from Dublin I met. Their friendship and guidance has blessed Tim and I over the last three years. They are authentic, teachable servants living at the crossroads of Jesus and real life. Daryl sent me this teaching by Michael Brooks from South Shores Church. It is a great follow-up to the Godly Obedience class we had on January 10th.

When my grandson Conner was young, he came to stay with us for several days while his parents were on vacation. My wife told me that bedtime was going to be a little challenging because Conner did not have a schedule — he was allowed to stay up as long as he wanted and was put to bed only after he fell asleep. Obviously, that wasn’t going to work for us.

On the first evening when 8:30 pm rolled around, we got Amanda (our youngest daughter) and Conner ready for bed — pajamas on and teeth brushed. Then I read them a story. “Okay, lights out, sleep well, see you in the morning,” I said as I kissed each one good night. Conner said: “But Grandpa I’m not ready to go to sleep.” I said: “Remember what I told you? The rules at Grandma and Grandpa’s house are a little different than Mommy and Daddy’s. At our house kids go to bed at 8:30. See you in the morning.” Conner obediently nodded: “Okay Grandpa.”

By the time my son and daughter-in-law picked up Conner after their trip, they were shocked to see he was not only going to bed at 8:30, but also eating what we ate at mealtime. My son asked: “How did you get him to do it?” My answer: “I just told him what the rules were — we all eat what Grandma makes (this isn’t a restaurant), and bedtime is at 8:30. It wasn’t very difficult because he’s a really great kid. You guys have done a wonderful job with him — just make sure he knows his boundaries and parenting will be a lot more enjoyable.”

Let me ask you this question in the context of our passage today: Did Conner know he was breaking a rule at his own house if he didn’t go to bed at 8:30, or  if he ate only peanut butter sandwiches (no jelly)? Of course not; where there is no law, there can be no trespass. Conner didn’t know there were rules, so he couldn’t be held accountable for breaking any. He thought bedtime was when he felt tired and he should eat only what tasted good.

In our passage today, Paul explains this same concept applied to man before the Law was given:  “…sin is not taken into account when there is no law.” In other words, you can’t be punished for breaking a rule that doesn’t exist.

Parenting Tip: Play a game that is familiar to your child but drop all the rules. The player can do whatever he or she wants, whenever they want and for whatever reason. Discuss how the lack of rules equals chaos and that the rules are designed to make the game more fun for everyone. It is the same when playing the game of life. God designed us, knows what is best for us, and gives us a rulebook – the Bible. It is in our best interest to obey and live by His plan. (Durbin Parenting with Scripture p. 155)


  1. This is a great reminder to create healthy boundries for our kids. Having very clear and understandable rules makes obeying so much easier. Boundries set our kids up to be successful in obediance. Great Post!!