He stood on the road, surveying the damage.
Somewhere upland from here the flooding had pushed something in place that blocked its original course, and the overflow had run across his land. It carved out a massive channel that left a nasty scar on the land. The worst part was that it cut his road.
This was the road that had encouraged traders and travelers to cross his land. He built it so he could barter and exchange news and keep in touch with family and friends. Now his road was out and it would mean isolation and disruption of their lives, too.
So he went to his forest and began cutting trees. The two giant cedars became the primary beams to cross the hideous scar. There were smaller cedars to buttress them from below. He had to hire a lot of help, of course. Not a few of them did little more than keep an eye on the situation upstream to make sure he didn’t get caught in any further flash floods.
And once the bridge was complete, he still had to do a lot of work hauling wagon loads of rock to line the banks in weak spots to ensure any future washing wouldn’t destroy any more. But it was the bridge that required constant maintenance and took up a lot of his time, more than the rest of the whole road he had built and maintained.
The whole idea of being part of a community of faith is to have people come and go in your life. God made us social creatures; our gifts are designed to benefit His Kingdom, not just ourselves.
Sometimes a flood of temptation will catch you off-guard and rip through your life. Your sin will hurt others. Some kinds of sin can’t be just gotten rid of; it may leave a scar that marks you for life. For those times, you need to do the work to build a bridge so people can learn to trust you again. It takes lots of help from your covenant family, including those who will warn you when the temptation starts washing into your life again. But if you don’t do that work, you become a threat to the community of faith.
People who choose to never trust you again must be left to make their own decisions. Things will never be the same, but they can still be full of blessings.