My mother gave me a special coffee cup for my birthday years ago that had a handle shaped like two open hearts. Over the years I’ve received many gifts with that emblem because of my Valentine birthday. But I treasured it because it was from her and was decorated with my favorite design—hearts.

Several years later, I made coffee and searched for it, but couldn’t find it. I asked my husband who said he had no idea where it was. A few days later, while sweeping the kitchen, the broom flicked a fragment of the handle from beneath the edge of the cabinet. I picked it up and set it on the counter. When he came home, I showed it to him. Sheepishly, he admitted he’d dropped it and disposed of the evidence, hoping I wouldn’t notice.

Unimportant to him, irreplaceable to me.

In a similar way careless acts and critical words shatter heart bonds. In the moment of offense, the wounded person might appear uninjured, leaving the offender oblivious. Once the two go their ways the pain pushes to the surface, ruining established trust. Left unrepaired, the relationship might end up discarded.

Although I love to encourage people, sometimes I’ve blown it and said stupid, hurtful things. The New Testament says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

When I blow it, I clarify my offense, admit it and attempt to make amends. When I detected a rift in a friendship, I try to repair it, following his example. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

What do you do?

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