Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Prov. 27:17) has made its way to my ears and eyes several times over the last few days. Each time it has come from different people and in different circumstances. Yet, the message has been the same.
As a recovering people pleaser and role player, I've discovered that I've spent my life being a bit dull and needing sharpening. Thankfully, God has placed a few people in my life at just the right times who have become those sharpening agents. These are the people who have become intimate friends, know my junk, and are willing to speak truth in a gentle and loving manner which makes me a better person. I won't pretend: sometimes the truth is hard to hear. But because I trust these friends, I know they have my best interest at heart. They're the friends to whom I can say, Just tell me what you think. I need to know. And because I'm just now learning to trust myself, it helps to gain perspective from trustworthy friends. Their perspectives usually offer me another small step toward freedom.
After years of superficial relationships, I'm realizing God intends for his children to share intimacy with one another. It's through the intimacy that we find a safe place for sharpening to occur. Without intimacy, the attempt at iron sharpening is simply religious correction...legalism. Legalism is more cutting than sharpening, leaving the victim with wounds gaping open.
When iron sharpens iron, the dull piece becomes useful. Life, truth, energy, creativity and hope are no longer scary; they're excitingly attainable.
Thank you, friends, for sharpening and enriching my life! You know who you are.