Have you ever considered how amazing bridges are? I mean, think about it. An astounding amount of engineering expertise produces the construction of a bridge.
I wonder who it was that looked over a span, whether it be a stream, creek, or river, and thought, “Huh…I could just build something to arch over that.”
If I remember from a long-ago college course in western civilization, ancient Romans were builders of bridges, some of which still stand today I believe.
Here in my part of the world, wooden bridges were the norm hundreds of years ago. You can take scenic drives in my home state, as well as several others, and view covered, wooden bridges some still in use now as they were in days gone by.
A lot of the simple, uncovered, wooden bridges that crossed streams and creeks along country roads here are disappearing and being replaced by concrete spans, safety being the reason of course as those wooden structures have succumbed to wear and tear by years and weather.
Those super-long suspension bridges are the ones that boggle my mind and I thought about that in Maryland as we crossed over the Chesapeake Bay on the Bay Bridge during our summer trip there.
While we were driving upon that span, I captured a few photos, and I thought about the thousands of cars, trucks, and other vehicles that cross bridges each and every day.
We cross without thinking of the feat accomplished in the building of that bridge. We cross trusting and assuming the bridge is completely safe and won’t collapse while we’re on it. We cross not giving a thought that hundreds of years ago, the only way to get from this side to that would have been by boat or ferry.
It occurs to me that bridges are something we take for granted in life. We assume someone will build and maintain a bridge to get us where we want to go. But shouldn’t we be responsible for some bridge building of our own?
When you and I disagree – name the reason, there are many – whether it comes to politics, religion, social causes, or just some ridiculous meme one of us posted on social media, and we resort to anger and blustering and name-calling, we’re tearing down bridges that connect us as human beings.
We stomp off either virtually and unfriend someone we once called friend or we literally stomp off in reality and never speak to the person again.
I suppose you could call it burning our bridges. But is that really a good thing to do? I don’t think so. If we are all going to attempt to live together on this planet Earth in some kind of unity or harmony, we have to learn to build bridges instead of burning them.
Building a bridge is far more constructive. And it’s more fruitful to reach out to someone – to span across that disagreement with them – than to cut them out of your life in anger.
I’m a firm believer in what my Bible, God’s Word, tells me. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote these words to believers in Thessalonica: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). He did not say discourage those you know, tear them down with your words and deeds, incite anger and violence.
He went on to say, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else” in verse 15.
We can use those verses in our words and actions with fellow believers and non-believers who don’t agree with us. And we can pray for peaceful reconciliation instead of angry rebuttals. It’s called bridging the gap between us.
When Jesus died on the cross, that’s what He did. He is the finest designer of bridges. With the cross, He built the most significant and greatest bridge of all – an old wooden and rugged cross – across the huge chasm of sin, despair, and death so we could cross over it to life with Him.
It’s never too late to build a bridge. You don’t even have to be an experienced engineer to do so.
“Build a bridge by extending your hand.” ~ Ken Poirot