We don’t have to live very long to find out that some people offend us and things do not always go as we wished or planned. A common mistake, in my opinion, is our reaction to people or problems with things happen to us – whether on a mission field, on deputation, in a church, work place, with friends, etc. When something does not go our way, we are prone to cut the person off or just walk out… but burning bridges only makes it more difficult to return if ever needed. The Biblical way to handle problems is not to burn bridges but to be humble and just keep going. It hurts, but when someone belittles you, offends you, treats you unjustly or shoots any negative vibe your way, it is best to respond humbly and not hatefully. Many times I have been hurt via email or phone conversations but later I was very glad that I didn’t decide to burn the bridges. Here are some simple reasons why not to burn bridges in life.
1. You may need them one day
If you do ever need the person one day, it will be very hard to return back to them if you previously burned the bridges. If the last time you met with the person you concluded in a good manner, you will be happy you responded correctly when the you come to the time that you need the person.
2. We are told to not respond in hate
A soft answer will appease the fire and fight but the strong words will only add fuel to the fire. The Bible commands us to respond correctly, not react sharply and burn the bridges.
3. You might have been the one who was wrong
Have you ever been mad, stormed off totally disgusted only to find out later that it was you who was the mistaken one? Try going back and saying sorry after making a fool of yourself – that takes a lot of swallowing of the pride. Just in case you are wrong, which happens more often than we want to admit, it would be best to act kindly and not harshly.
4. Others are watching
Whether kids, friends, other Christians or whoever it may be, there is always someone watching our lives. Even though someone hurts us, getting mad and burning the bridges will sure not let us win in other people’s eyes… even if you think it makes you feel better doing so. It is much better for someone to look at you and say, “they mistreated you, but that was amazing how you reacted in a mature manner towards them”, instead of someone seeing you react badly and burn all the bridges to future possibilities. You not only burn the future possibilities of recuperating relationships with the other party, but you now are closing doors to the person who was watching you and once thought good of you. Burning bridges is usually a lose-lose situation when it comes with working with people.
Here to Serve,
General Director of Vision Baptist Missions