As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
I shared in the last devotional the importance of appreciating our relationships and their ability to sharpen us in our walk with God. The truth is that being sharpened by another person can be hard and painful at times, and we can be tempted to get out of the relationship to ease the pain or the frustration.
Proverbs 17:17 brings a balance to Proverbs 27:17 as it relates to the quality of our friendships. When we have committed relationships and friends who love us at all times, then we have a safe place to be changed. God’s transformation process is not easy, and sometimes it’s painful and long! However, when we have committed people in our lives, we don’t have to pretend that we have it all together. We don’t have to defend our position or try to win the argument. We recognize that our differences can be a blessing in pushing us to consider another viewpoint and to become open to God on how we wants to change us.
Imagine the potential for growth when we are willing to work on issues with our loved ones without allowing the conflict to separate or divide us! What if instead of judging each other, we listened to each others’ heart!? What if we respected their preference and allowed God to remove our carnal prejudices and hang ups!? How about if we allowed God to use them to speak truth to those broken places in our lives, so we can grow powerfully! All those possibilities, would allow us to sharpen each other without being angry or feel less because someone has pointed out a flaw in our lives.
It’s interesting that when you sign up to join the military or the police force, you sign up to go through several grueling months of training where people are not going to be kind or gentle with you. Instead, they will yell at you and tell you that you are not good enough to make it, but most people are willing to put up with it for the end goal or outcome. How more so should we be willing to endure the sharpening of our friends, family members, and brothers and sisters in Christ knowing that the end goal is to be more Christlike!?