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“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.”  Proverbs 18:19 NLT
There are those fun ice breaker questions that start with a “have you ever” statement. But there are those that might cause a little more reflection and heartache. Have you ever lost a friend? Not as in, have they passed away, but as in have you ever had a close friend and then something happens that brings division? 
I have had the blessing of having good friends for decades. Deep lasting friendships that have stood the test of time and difficulty. Those relationships are rich and deep. But I have also had relationships that were close and then were shaken, only to never be the same again. Oh to be able to step back and have a “do over”.  If I could I would be more careful when it came to offenses and arguments. Proverbs tells us that it those things that divide us “like a gate locked with bars.”
To Avoid Offenses:
Think before you speak – simple but sometimes not easy. Remember that is better to be loving than it is to be right. 
Keep short accounts – Apologize quickly. Don’t allow bitterness to grab hold. 
Make the choice to think well of others – I heard a quote this week that really made this point to me. 
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” 
Thomas a Kempis
To Restore Relationships:
Pray for those that used to be close – Ask God to bring healing to the relationship and heal any hurts. 
Right any wrongs – Take ownership of your part in the division and take steps to make it right. 
Forgive each other – Don’t let unforgiveness settle in your heart. 
We were created for relationships, this week invest in those relationships that you have and make an effort to restore the ones that have been separated. 
In His Hands,