Do NOT Burn Bridges!

My wife and I had an apartment outside Toronto, and we decided we’d rent it out while we traveled one summer.  A colleague of mine hired a university student named Edward from another city to do a summer internship, so Edward was looking for a place to live…seemed like a perfect match! 

As an act of kindness, I offered Edward our apartment for a reeeeeally good price, and I had the rent start low and get higher (since most students have no money at the end of the school year).  The month of May was $500, the month of June $600, and July was $700.  I figured he could afford the higher rent as the summer progressed since he was earning a salary at his internship.

On vacation in Western Canada

However, I got an email from Edward a few weeks into the summer saying he wasn’t going to continue his internship, and had moved out of our apartment!  I was frustrated for 2 reasons:

1)  Now our apartment was empty and we could’ve rented it out to someone for the whole summer

2)  I charged him less for the first month with the understanding that rent would go UP as Edward had more money! 

These are the crucial moments in life:  the crossroads, the turning points. 

I had a choice:  I could write Edward and (politely) demand that he pay me the money for the rest of the summer, as we had agreed, or I could just let it go.  I chose the latter, and I’m so grateful that I made the right decision. 

Here’s the thing:  No matter the outcomes, it’s always a good idea to do the right thing.  I believe in eternity, and in a just God who sees everything and will work it all out in the end.  You reap what you sow.

Now guess what happened next? 

Word got around that our apartment was empty for the rest of summer, so an old friend named Aidan who was visiting Canada from Cairo moved in with his family and enjoyed it for a couple months.  It was a huge blessing to him, and he left it super clean and even left money to cover the utilities.

Fast forward 3 years and I was visiting Cairo with my wife & daughter.  Who picked us up from the airport and hosted us at his apartment?  Aidan! 

Hosted in Cairo by our friend Aidan

And guess what happened to Edward – the student who abandoned our apartment after a few weeks?  He married one of my good friends and became a wildly successful businessman in Toronto.  Last summer I was back in Canada for a visit, and he offered his multi-million dollar home to us while he and his family were on vacation.  AMAZING!  I’m sooooooo glad I didn’t burn that bridge and ruin our relationship over a few hundred dollars. 

Life doesn’t always work out like this.  Sometimes you do the right thing, and someone takes advantage of you or ‘preys on your weakness’.  Don’t fret about it.  Stay the course, and you’ll reap what you sow.  Be patient and your reputation will prevail in the end. 

Relationships are more important than money, and your reputation is a valuable asset that you need to value and protect.  As much as possible and as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone, and DO NOT BURN BRIDGES.