Boundaries – Henry Cloud, John Townsend Book Summary

Boundaries – Henry Cloud, John Townsend | Free Book Summary

Boundaries – Henry Cloud, John Townsend

This book will tell about how to set boundaries to our mental world.

#1: The Law of Sowing and Reaping

“You reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit”

Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)

Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!


 Sometimes, however, people don’t reap what they sow, because someone else steps in and reaps the consequences for them. If every time you overspent, your mother sent you money to cover check overdrafts or high credit-card balances, you wouldn’t reap the consequences of your spendthrift ways.

You just need to stop interrupting the law of sowing and reaping in someone’s life.Free book, podcast summaries

#2: The Law of Responsibility

Many times, when people hear a talk on boundaries and taking responsibility for their own lives, they say, “That’s so self-centered.” “We should love one another and deny ourselves.” Or, they actually become selfish and self-centered. Or, they feel “guilty” when they do someone a favor. 

The law of responsibility includes loving others.

“Love each other as I have loved you”

#3: The Law of Power

Confession: You have the power to agree with the truth about your problems.

You have the power to submit your inability to God. 

You have the power to search and ask God and others to reveal more and more about what is within your boundaries.

Repentance: You have the power to turn away from the evil that you find within you. 

You have the power to humble yourself and ask God and others to help you with your developmental injuries and leftover childhood needs.

You have the power to seek out those that you have injured and make amends.

True intimacy is only built around the freedom to disagree.

#4: The Law of Respect

We fear that others will not respect our boundaries. We focus on others and lose clarity about ourselves.

If we love and respect people who tell us no, they will love and respect our no. Freedom begets freedom.

#5: The Law of Motivation

These false motives and others keep us from setting boundaries: 

  • Fear of loss of love, or abandonment. 
  • Fear of others’ anger.
  • Fear of loneliness. 
  • Fear of losing the “good me” inside.
  • Guilt
  • Payback.
  • Approval
  • Overidentification with the other’s loss.

Freedom first, service second. If you serve to get free of your fear, you are doomed to failure. Let God work on the fears, resolve them, and create some healthy boundaries to guard the freedom you were called to.

#6: The Law of Evaluation

You need to evaluate the effects of setting boundaries and be responsible to the other person, but that does not mean you should avoid setting boundaries because someone responds with hurt or anger.

We need to evaluate the pain our confrontations cause other people. We need to see how this hurt is helpful to others and sometimes the best thing that we can do for them and the relationship. We need to evaluate the pain in a positive light.

#7: The Law of Proactivity

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Do not try to get to freedom without owning your reactive period and feelings. You do not need to act this out, but you do need to express your feelings. You need to practice and gain assertiveness. You need to get far enough away from abusive people to be able to fence your property against further invasion. And then you need to own the treasures you find in your soul.

#8: The Law of Envy

Your envy should always be a sign that you are lacking something. At that moment, you should ask God to help you understand what you resent, why you do not have whatever you are envying, and whether you truly desire it. Ask him to show you what you need to do to get there or to give up the desire.

#9: The Law of Activity

When a baby bird is ready to hatch, if you break the egg for the bird, it will die. The bird must peck its own way out of the egg into the world. This aggressive “workout” strengthens the bird, allowing it to function in the outside world. Robbed of this responsibility, it will die.

We must not shrink back passively. Our boundaries can only be created by our being active and aggressive, by our knocking, seeking, and asking

Get the book!

Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

The smartest newsletter, partly written by AI.

Download, the short news app for busy professionals