Several years ago, I was walking from the supermarket when, in the distance, I heard the sound of footsteps and a voice yelling, ‘Excuse me!’ I turned to see a stocky guy about my age running towards me quite energetically. For a moment, I wondered what this guy could possibly want. However, as he approached, I realized that his face looked familiar. As it turned out, I went to high school with the man and, though we weren’t friends then and had never really spoken, somehow he recognized me and left his office to come and say hi. He then warmly invited me into his office and, over the next twenty minutes, he narrated how he’d started a property agency and had just set up shop in the neighborhood where I live. As he spoke to me, I shared with him that I was thinking of moving out of my apartment and wanted to know if he could help me secure a better place to rent. ‘Why don’t you buy?!?’ he exclaimed and then went on to pour out a wealth of information which was very useful about buying property. As I think about it now, I realize that I wouldn’t have got this information if I had made an enemy of him twelve years ago in high school. For, as God’s plan and His laws would have it, things have changed. He is no longer a snotty-nosed teen (I kid not, he was at the time) but a rising entrepreneur who turned out to be helpful in changing my mindset.
The moral of this story: don’t burn bridges. We should never make the mistake of undermining people because of the way they appear in the present. And we should certainly never ever burn bridges if we can help it. The people we despise, push away and ignore now may very well be vital to our success on some level in the future. Many times, we fail to be strategic about life, thinking that things will stay the same as they are now. We treat people with so much contempt and take them for granted without an understanding that it could come back to bite us one day. True wisdom says that nothing stays the same. I once heard someone use the term ‘tomorrow-minded’ some years ago. I thought it was funny at the time but it is actually very deep. Tables turn in life and if we have done a great job of burning bridges everywhere we go and failing to be ‘tomorrow-minded’ about people we come across, we may be setting ourselves up for a fall or, at least, for missed opportunities somewhere along the way.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we need to cozy up to every single person we meet in life. Not everyone belongs in our inner circle. Doubtless, we’ll come across some highly toxic people – people who constantly discourage us, speak negatively, endlessly take and never give, people who drain us of all energy and hope. As much as possible, we must avoid being influenced by such people. When I speak of bridges that we should be careful never to burn, I refer to those who, in short, would be described as ‘little people’ – people with no titles or present significance, who have been dismissed by the crowd maybe because of their inglorious background, poor education or lack of experience. You just never know.
A person who has constantly inspired me when it comes to this area is Jesus Christ. He refused to despise anybody and saw people, not through the lenses of their present failures, but always full of undying hope about who they could be. Even as He was dying on a cross, He reached out to forgive a criminal and assured him of a future he never would have had. He sees you for who you really are and will never burn bridges with you. By faith, Christ’s spirit still lives in us today. If you’d like to know more about Him and how you can connect with Him, please click on the banner below.