A burning bridge leaves soul destruction.
Perhaps the solution is to not burn bridges in the first place.
But this isn’t how some people are wired. Their knee-jerk reaction is to fight and too often – the bridge catches fire and before anything can be done to put the fire out, one person is left standing on one bank looking at the person on the other through dense, black smoke. The conflagration serves as an appropriate backdrop to what is now a crippling case of denial and separation in the hearts and souls of the two individuals who are left standing on opposite banks. There isn’t anything much harder to observe than a standoff between two people on opposing banks – with seemingly little chance to reconcile.
But we probably need to step back. These explosions of emotional intensity usually don’t happen randomly and without some kind of back story. Fire can’t burn without fuel. It takes some intentionality to hoard a cache of kindling and matches to use later to build and light a fire. Maybe even bigger stuff is added to the cache as time goes on – sticks and logs and other accelerants of many kinds.
More specifically, this cache may intentionally be loaded with recollected sneers, snideness, lies, innuendo, and half-truths. What else? Angry words, portions of stories, gossip, unresolved hurt feelings, abuses, prejudices, lack of facts, and regrets. And probably in every anger-vault there are stacks and stacks of impulsiveness, impudence, and impertinence – the Three I’s of Destructive Behavior. Next time you see a bridge aflame, look around and you will find evidence of the Three I’s. Sad but true.
Let me offer a bit more. At the core of anger is dissatisfaction. And dissatisfaction comes from seeing the world through one set of eyeglasses only – your eyeglasses. As amazing as it sounds, there will never be an intentionally set fire when one person is able to share his or her eyeglasses with another.
There is another way to live that is opposite of the way that many live today. Here is a simple chart for comparison purposes.
No, it won’t be easy but preventing fires means taking preventive measures. If it is a fire that you are worried about, don’t load up a cache with flammable material. Don’t keep score. Learn to forgive and share the eyeglasses. I don’t mean by any stretch that you should subject yourself to physical or verbal abuse – no! But I am suggesting that every harsh word and accusation can be defused with words that source from an attitude of humility.
Humility. Now that is a hard word. And it isn’t a word that we hear too much of today. We learn – and probably teach – that we need to stand up for our rights, don’t get run over, give in to no extent, never blink, and stand proud. No matter the consequences. Problem is, this approach to living and relationships often fills up an anger-locker super fast with all kinds of explosive incendiaries.
Humility, on the other hand, is as extremely extreme except in the exact opposite way as emotional fire. Humility is the best bomb-defuser, fire-suppressor, lightning-ground, and gas-evacuation method ever known. Instead of pursuing an urge to cache volatility, try being humble. It works. Guaranteed.
Humility is a soul-fire bridge-burning preventer.
When pride comes, shame is not far behind, but wisdom accompanies those who are humble. (Proverbs 11:2 VOICE)