Friday, August 7, 2009

Burning Bridges

Acts 15:37-40 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Sadly, this marks the end of Barnabas in the scriptures...and yet it would not be the end for Mark as he reappears much later in the bible story at 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Burning bridges hurts people, its separates them...often people who have burnt bridges realize later that they would much rather have that bridge back to the other person than they would have the memory of whatever it was that made them burn that bridge.

It is just so hard to rebuild those bridges. There is always pride to overcome on both sides of the burnt bridge. Pride, anger, pain....many reasons to avoid the task. All smaller than the need for the task.

I often wonder if Paul's praise for John Mark later in life was an effort on his part to restore his fellowship with Barnabas. I do not know the state of Barnabas' life at that time, whether he was dead or maybe had gotten away from the Lord, or maybe he was just doing something for the Lord elsewhere...but somehow I think Paul surely missed his old friend.

Perhaps some of the profitability Paul speaks of is just's a way for Paul to do something to make things right with Barnabas...even if Paul was right all those years ago...sometimes, many times, most of the times, its better to suffer yourself to be defrauded than it is to be right.

I have burned a few bridges in my life. Almost always I have wanted those bridges back. I have even tried to rebuild them on my side, but I've never been able to make the bridge as sturdy as it was the first time. Never has the bridge been so easy to cross as it had been before it was burned.

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