Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday Scripture Speaks - Burning Bridges

I was listening to the following song (Borderline by Allison Krauss) today and immediately wondered what the Bible has to say about "burning bridges" with people.

So you're on your own
Looking down the road
That goes only by one name
And you don't need the signs
To see lonely still runs both ways
So who's the fool that would think the ties would be better off undone
Did you heart heed the warning
When you veered from the path
That was narrower and straight

On the borderline
Somewhere between that plight for freedom
Feeling like you can't move on
The toll will be the time
Takes you off of my mind
And out of my heart I know
And when you cross over
There's no turning back
Once that burning bridge is gone

I have a lot of trouble leaving relationships, especially forgetting about the people. I don't burn bridges well, though it seems others have no difficulty at all when it comes to this. I especially don't think I could ever get divorced and move on, even if I had just cause to do so. This post is not really about divorce, though. I'm talking more about close friendships, though the husband/wife relationship is probably the closest of friendships (or should be.)

I found an article about burning spiritual bridges. The author claims that there are times when one must sever ties with friends (not with a spouse). If a close friend is causing you to sin, you might have to break ties with him or her in order to be true to your Lord.

Proverbs 27:9-12 (Contemporary English Version) says something very interesting about friendships:

"The sweet smell of incense can make you feel good, but true friendship
is better still. Don't desert an old friend of your family or visit your relatives when you are in trouble. A friend nearby is better than relatives far away. 
My child, show good sense! Then I will be happy and able to answer anyone who criticizes me. Be cautious and hide when you see danger--don't be stupid and walk right into trouble."

 True friendship, the kind that doesn't find itself at the wrong end of a burning bridge, is better than something that makes you "feel good." A friend nearby (is of like mind and spirit) is better than relatives who are far from God's wisdom. That's tough for me to understand. 

You know the saying, "Blood is thicker than water." Apparently, it's more important for people to get counsel and advice (or "help") from friends who understand things of the spirit than to go to ungodly relatives for guidance.
The last part of the passage is particularly interesting to me. We are to be wise about relationships in the first place, not to be stupid and walk right into something that might later get us into a great deal of trouble, or spiritual problems. 

I suppose this is where the whole issue of burning bridges actually comes into practice. I shouldn't need to, or want to, burn the bridges of relationships if I'm equally yoked to begin with. When choosing people for my "inner circle", whether that be business relationships, marriage, or close friendships, I need to be cautious and "hide" when I "see danger."

I think also, we should think about what happens when we burn bridges with people that we should never have burned. This is as bad as not burning them when we need to. Once a person is scorned, it's difficult, and sometimes impossible, to win them back again. 

It's not at all wise to turn a cold back to someone you once connected with in order to chase down a road that leads to a dead end. "Show good sense!" If you have a good, true friend - one with whom you connect on a spiritual and emotional level - don't be foolish and toss it all away on a whim. You might not get the chance to repair the broken ties. As the song says, "there's no turning back once that burning bridge is gone."

When you're on the other end of a broken relationship, watching the bridge burn while feeling completely helpless, remember that "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24) Jesus has promised to "never leave you nor forsake you." (Joshua 1:5) We know that His promises are true.

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