Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. ESV Proverbs 17:9
People will hurt us. It’s a fact of life. It’s painful. Even worse, occasionally, close friends will hurt us. Perhaps they didn’t mean to, or perhaps they did. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they tried to say something and it came out wrong or a little harsher than they intended. Either way, we will be offended, and perhaps even rightly so. At this moment we have a choice. We can cover the offense, offer forgiveness and move on, or we can constantly bring it up and separate our friendship.
Often when we hurt, we want to talk things through. Based on the proverb above, we can talk about the matter–when it happens. If you are offended, you should talk to your friend about it. Remember that regardless of your friend’s response, it will be up to you to cover the offense. Solomon is not teaching that we can’t discuss hurts. However, once we have discussed the painful episode, we have a choice: cover the matter, seek love and move on, or continue to repeat the matter and separate our close friendship. Constantly bringing things up with “I still can’t believe what you did to me” does nothing but destroy a solid friendship. Remember Satan will do everything in his power to divide us from our friends, especially our Christian friends. We are more easily tempted and led astray on our own. The more we repeat matters, the more we find ourselves on our own. When hurt, we must look to Jesus. He forgave us when we hurt Him (remember, it was our sins that nailed Him to the cross). He doesn’t repeat our sins, but freely and fully forgives us. Find strength in Him to forgive and forget and maintain close friendships.
Things like this are easy to write, but much harder to do. No doubt those closest to you have also inflicted some of the greatest pain in your life. May you be encouraged today to forgive so as to maintain close friendships. Friendships are worth fighting for, so I hope you can find the strength from the gospel to keep your mouth shut and let the little things go.