Burn your Bridges

My husband was reading the newspaper and there was a report about the Zimbabwean government who say they are going to partially compensate farmers whose land was expropriated. There’s an Afrikaans saying that goes, “moet nooit sê fonteintjie, fonteintjie, uit jou gaan ek nooit weer drink nie.”Translated it says, “Never say, Fountain I won’t drink from you again.” In other words, don’t burn your bridges. Farmers will forever be wary of going back to farm in Zimbabwe because of what happened there. Nobody is willingly going to invest money, emotions and hard work in something that can go up in smoke in minutes. If they receive compensation now, it could be deemed as a kind of peace offering and the economy could eventually stabilize with good farmers returning.

Moses, in Exodus 2:11-25, killed an Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. He, not only became an immediate enemy of Pharaoh, who sought to kill him, but also of his own people, the Jews. Instead of seeing him as a hero because he had killed the Egyptian who had beaten a Hebrew, they distrusted him and saw him as a threat. As a result, he fled and effectively burned all his bridges behind him. If god hadn’t called him to go back to rescue his people, he definitely would never have returned to Egypt. I’m just thinking that the way he was saved from being killed as a baby, and how he grew up, should have been an indicator that there was a special assignment on his life. But it’s easy for me to say with all the information in front of me. When Moses returned to Egypt he had to do a lot of proving to his people before they would trust him. Obviously Pharaoh wasn’t his greatest fan either.

John 8:1 -11 describes a woman who had been caught in adultery. She was on the verge of being stoned to death when Jesus stopped the whole process by confronting he persecutors with the words in verse 7, “he who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” In verse 1 Jesus says to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” She had the perfect opportunity to burn all the bad bridges behind her and start fresh. I like to think that she took hold of the opportunity with both hands and started a new life.

Saul, who became Paul, burned his bridges when he became a follower of Jesus and went from a persecutor of Christians, to being persecuted. His was the original Damascus experience and as a result we have most of the New Testament. Paul was so committed to his new life that he risked everything to follow the Jesus he had been so dead set against. 2 Corinthians 11:24 -27, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” Paul purposely burned the bridges of his past to follow Jesus, which is exactly what we must do.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Here we are being told expressly that we have to burn our bridges and embrace our new life in Christ. We cannot, must not, go back to our old habits and our old traditions. We are brand new and we have to behave like brand new beings. Matthew 6:14 – 16, “you are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The world says that it’s bad to burn your bridges, but things in the Kingdom of God work differently and it seems like burning your bridges is not a bad thing at all.

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