Do you know what the saying, “Don’t burn your bridges” really means? Well a bridge is a connection, a safe path, a way to avoid tough roads. The bridge is a person, and just like bridges, people can offer connections, safe paths, and help you out in tough situations. If you burn a bridge you can no longer use that same route. So “Don’t burn your bridges” basically means don’t destroy relationships you may need in the future.
There may have been times when you burned your bridges and you didn’t even realize it. Think of a time when you needed a favor. You might have needed to borrow money, you might have needed a ride, a job or help with something or even somewhere to stay. Who was the first person you went to? Was it the stranger you saw at the market? No, you most likely went to a family member or a close friend. Did you repay the money? Did you offer gas money? Did you help them out when they needed you? Did you clean up after yourself when they let you stay with them? If your answer is NO to any of these then you might have burned that bridge. Sometimes it only takes one time for you to burn your bridge, sometimes it takes multiple times for the person to react and sometimes the person will never react (so they are used).
You will always need a favor at one time or another, but if you continually take and take, no one will want to help you out. People always remember the bad of one person. They will be thought of as greedy and self-centered. I’m sure we can all think of a few people that burned a bridge with us. Lets not do the same with others. Remember:
Ecclesiastes 7:1; “A good name is better than precious ointment…”
Proverbs 22:1; “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.”
Even a child can need a favor but if he is misbehaved and rude, just expecting things, no one will want to deal with that child.
Proverbs 20:11; “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
If you asked to borrow something and you told them you would repay it or give it back by a certain day, keep your word. If you don’t, not only is it considered lying, but what if your friend really needed the money by the time you said you would pay it back or really needed the item? You are causing them to be angry. Now you are breaking a commandment and could possibly cause them to transgress.
Ecclesiasticus 7:12; “Devise not a lie against thy brother; neither do the like to thy friend.”
Proverbs 29:22; “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”
In order not to burn your bridges always remember it’s a give and take, a favor for a favor and you will prosper. Don’t hesitate to help those that have helped you.
Now let’s look at the other side of this. You are being asked for a favor, what do you do before you respond? Think about what is being asked. What do they need? Are you truly capable of doing this favor? Do you have the time to spare to help? Do you have extra money to lend? Before giving an answer determine if this is a luxury or a favor, is it a need or a want? Answering yes without considering the facts can cause you to enter a risky path, even more so if you’re not disciplined or lack good work ethics. Also don’t judge everyone the same. Every person and every favor is a case by case situation and needs to be given true thought. Another thing is just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Don’t feel forced to do things. It is completely ok to say no. Sometimes by saying no you can save relationships from being destroyed. Not only destroyed on their behalf but also by you not being able to deliver.
Sirach 12:1 “When thou wilt do good know to whom thou doest it; so shalt thou be thanked for thy benefits.”
Of course asking for a favor isn’t wrong; it’s when people take advantage that it becomes a problem. Is it truly their fault? No, not always, they asked and you said yes. Remember Charity above all but don’t let people use you.
1st Peter 4:8; “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
Ecclesiasticus 13:4-5; “4 If thou be for his profit, he will use thee: but if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee. 5 If thou have any thing, he will live with thee; yea, he will make thee bare, and will not be sorry for it.”
The only bridge you should burn is the one to your past (worldly self), that is a bridge you should never cross again.
1st Kings 18:21; “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him…”