When It’s Time to Burn a Bridge
You’ve heard the expression, “Don’t burn your bridges.” While this adage has some wisdom to it—we do live in a small world and you never know when you’ll cross paths with someone—sometimes you need to burn bridges with people so they never appear in your life again.
I am talking about people who have chosen not to follow God and their mission is to make your life a living hell.
Associating with these people take you away from God. So if you want to stay near to Him, you have to burn these bridges.
And I do mean destroy them—many Christians will tread too lightly with damaging people because they don’t feel that clearly cutting ties is very “Christiany.”
If you are not fully convinced it’s time to sever all connections to this person, consider the following:
1. Drill down on why. Make a list of all the things that have caused you harm or kept you from God’s plan for your life. Remember 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” Keep this list handy for as long as you need to. You’re going to need it the next time you are tempted to build another bridge with this person. The best indicator of the future is the past.
2. Make it clear. Don’t take the cowardly approach and hide. This actually leaves a remnant of the bridge for them to use. Rather, make it abundantly clear that you will have no further contact with them. This does not mean that you have to get their agreement before you can burn the bridge, just make sure they know what you are doing. And then do it.
3. Give no access. I can’t tell you how many times I have clients tell me they are disconnecting from a toxic person only to find out that they are somehow still connected. It may be as minor as still following them on Instagram or getting a mutual friend to fill you in on the “scoop.” Burning bridges works best when this person is out of your life completely—physically, emotionally and virtually.
If you are still having trouble determining whether or not to keep a toxic person in your life, make sure that you bathe it in prayer. Remember God said in James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
God will let you know if this person is there to develop you or if you need to run. But whatever God tells you, do it and don’t look back!