Why would someone build a bridge to nowhere? Either they do not realize where they were headed, or they just are not the sharpest tool in the shed. The fact is though, all of us have constructed our own bridges to nowhere—in other words, spending a lot of effort on something that will never take us to a useful destination. Chances are, most of us have, at one time or another, held onto grudges—which are effectively bridges to nowhere.
Human nature can lead us to be quite hypocritical in how we address hurt feelings. We may recognize that when another person holds a grudge, they essentially journey away from the healing process—and yet when we have our own bone to pick, we might still hang on to our grudge, deluding ourselves into thinking that, for us, the results will somehow be different.
Grudges are like terrible dinner guests; they have endless appetites, but the only thing they are eating is the one who invited them to dinner. The list of health effects is lengthy, and can include any and all of the complications that result from depression and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. The real kicker is that intellectually we understand that these are side effects, and yet in reality we still may find it difficult to let some things go.
Why do we cling so tightly to feelings that we often know only hurt us? Directly, because they are ours—those feelings belong to us, and to let go of them means that we must realize they are wrong to preserve. We just do not want to have to admit: perhaps we were wrong, or at least that it may be better to be wronged and have peace than to get revenge.
At times, hurt feelings may indeed be justified, but holding onto them is completely opposite of the very core of Christianity because it ignores its two core concepts:
1) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
2) “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
Do we go to God when we have slipped up and tell Him, “I really blew that one, you better really mess me up this time… so I will learn,” or do we ask Him to be merciful with us? If we love God with all of our heart, then our heart will be reflecting His, which is filled with forgiveness and patience. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, then we will extend to them the same level of mercy that we request from God, and if we do not really forgive from our hearts, then God will not forgive our debts either (Matthew 18:21–35).
In bridge building there is a process called surveying, where a surveyor will come to the potential construction site to see how to best lay the road; which route should the road or bridge take to arrive at the desired final destination. Another way to look at this is that the surveyor eliminates any routes that may traverse over treacherous terrain. We can apply this to the times when we are upset or angered by the actions taken by others. God tells us that those who wish to see Him must first pursue peace with all people, and if we are not making that pursuit then we will lose out on eternity (Hebrews 12:14–17).
Are we counting the cost of holding grudges? We each have to ask ourselves: “Which route will lead me to God’s Kingdom?” Adjusting our road’s trajectory to avoid a mountain is one thing, but changing course over a mole hill may have us building a bridge to nowhere.
To learn more, watch our Tomorrow’s World telecast, “Success in Times of Stress.” Also be sure to order your free subscription to the Tomorrow’s World magazine, for helpful, related articles like “Overcoming Stress” and “Are You Willing to Change?”