The other day my good friend told me something I did not like hearing. And oh man, did I get angry. Instead of responding with understanding and engaging in what could have been a fruitful conversation, I let me emotions take the lead and responded in hurt. This hurt was telling me to burn the bridge.
I tend to be quick to cut people out of my life – to burn bridges. However, I am starting to realize that God doesn’t call us to prideful and angry relationship breaks. Instead, he calls us to humility, to community, and to forgiveness.
Sometimes a shaky bridge simply needs to be sturdied. Not every shaky bridge needs to be burned.
And the process of making it sturdy – through conversations and mutual grace and understanding – will actually make it one of your strongest relationships.
But we are only one part of the relationship equation, and we are only in charge of ourselves. We can’t dictate what other people are going to say or believe. We don’t get to force them to change their mind or do what we think they should do. All we can do is what we believe is right. And that starts with not reacting in the first place.
But how do you respond instead of react, especially when in the moment you are heated? We have to look to God. You see, we do a lot of things God doesn’t like seeing or hearing, yet he never shuts us out because of it. He always forgives, listens, and loves. If being Christ-like is the goal (which it is), then this mindset and attitude has to become a part of who we are and how we hold ourselves and do relationships.
But sometimes – a lot of the times – that is easier said than done. So what do you do when you react in anger or hostility? How do you come back from that?
When you wrong someone – or do something you know in your heart isn’t right – it is your responsibility to apologize.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to go forcing forgiveness. Forgiveness is in the other person’s hands. But humbling yourself, admitting your wrong, and asking for forgiveness is your part of the equation, and it is an essential one at that.
Now, I still don’t like what my friend told me. But I do love her. And because I love her, I decided to slow done and not be so quick to burn our bridge. In order to do this, I had to put down my pride and set my anger aside, humble myself and apologize for my reaction.
You are only responsible for you. When you’re in the wrong, it’s your responsibility to apologize. And when you’re wronged, it’s your responsibility to forgive.
Photo by Trung Thanh on @unsplash