Don’t burn bridges! Foster relationships with God and community

Roger Cohen
Roger Cohen

Roger Cohen, Special to the Valley News

Have you ever wanted to give someone a “piece of your mind?” Did the car in front of you make you upset? Have you ever had a relationship that ended badly? Possibly you fought with family about money? Do you have that relative that borrows money but never repays you? Did you use social media this week to tell off people who had different views?

Did you burn a bridge lately with opportunity and others?

Life is about building relationships. Humanity works together, sometimes with efficiency and sometimes with animosity. What I have learned is when time passes, a burnt bridge will often come back to haunt you.

In the Bible, Leviticus talks about the relationship humanity has with God.

In Leviticus 26:14-16, God said, “But if you do not obey Me and do not observe all these commandments, if you reject My laws and spurn My rules, so that you do not observe all My commandments and you break My covenant, I in turn will do this to you.”

Relationships require time, commitment and nurturing. When we have a partner in life, we can’t only tell them we “love them” on the day we got married. We have to nurture life, love and relationships.

The Bible in Leviticus teaches society all of the moral and ethical requirements needed to interact. It teaches us we should not charge interest to those we are related to as a family. It shows us how people should cooperate with one another.

In 30 verses following Leviticus 26:14-16, the Bible details the problems with falling out of a relationship with God and ignores certain ethical principles. The preceding 10 verses confirm how society will flourish if they are in a relationship with God.

The relationships we build in the community are compelling. Our relationship with God is vital, and that relationship will build strong community bonds between families and friends. We must cherish our relationships.

While this perspective may seem obvious with the tangible and physically present people we live with, such as our immediate family, it is less evident with those we don’t see. We also must cherish our relationships with those in the community we don’t know and not “burn our bridges” with those we don’t know.

Most importantly, we must nurture our relationship with the divine and love the Lord with all our heart and soul.

Roger Cohen is a military veteran and a university lecturer in Southern California, specializing in ethics, religious studies and political science. To learn more, follow him at

Congregation B’nai Chaim offers services to Jewish and interfaith families and is located at 29500 Via Princesa in Murrieta. For more information, visit