Be an Individual Even if You are Part of Someone Else

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The Torah gives Jewish families guidance for personal growth and mature relationships. In the Torah we read, “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother, and will be joined to his wife.” Genesis 2:23-24

In order to have a healthy family you should be able to both relate to others as part of yourself by treating them with the same kindness you would like to be treated with and yet be able to distinguish, accept, and respect others as distinct individuals apart from yourself at the same time. Many families are dysfunctional because parents, spouses, and siblings fail to do this and tend to be controlling and violate each other’s boundaries. God never intended for our individually to be lost in the process of becoming one with each other.

Others are meant to be seen as separate beings with the right and responsibility to control themselves. Bible believing parents especially need to heed the Torah’s statement about how the child should leave the parents so that the two-the bride and the groom-can become one. In order for two people to successfully become one in marriage they both must both be acknowledged as two people with their own identities as individuals to begin with.

Too often well-meaning parents seem to think that because their child is bone of their bone they should not be acknowledged as another person. The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. However, please note it did not say train up a child in the way the parent goes or some authority figure personally prefers but in the way the child should go and God is the only judge of that but people often confuse themselves with God.

People who have not been allowed to have their own God given individuality often end up in dysfunctional relationships-seeking to preventing others from experiencing their own or not being assertive enough to set healthy boundaries with others and this can cause a lot of problems in marriage and other relationships. Too many parents, Torah teachers, and others instead of encouraging others under their care to grow and develop under the guidance of God assume that God called them to be a God for others and pressure them to pursue by whatever they prefer and claim people are rebelling against God if others don’t submit to their wishes.

They only see others-including God-as an extension of themselves not as individuals. They may claim to only want what is best for someone else but what is best in their minds may not be what God considers best for someone else. Our job as authority figures whether as parents, Torah teachers, or anyone else who is in a position of influence is to point people to the true authority- God. This is the example we have in the Bible, “Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.” 1 Samuel 3:9.

Our only role is to teach godly principles to those under our care and empathize that God alone has the right to determine what that person should do instead of trying to urge others to depend on our own judgement and preferences. When we do not respect each other’s boundaries we do not respect God and will never have authentic relationships with others. Although we may claim to want a relationship with another person controlling people are seeking to have a relationship with a duplicate of themselves. They do not know how to love or respect others. We need to learn what love is and honor God by acknowledging others as individuals designed by the Lord for a unique purpose while treating them with the same love and respect we would want for ourselves.

Picture originally found here

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