My childhood friends were savage warriors!
Oh, nobody ever really got hurt in our wars. It was a lot like watching Roy Rogers on TV. In his show, bullets were always flying, but no one ever died. It was the same in our neighborhood. We did a lot of fighting, but nobody died (much to the relief of our often-worried parents).
To prepare for our more primitive battles, we had to sharpen sticks into spears or arrows. In that preparation, I learned a valuable lesson. To sharpen a stick into a killer spear, I had to rub the point on some rough surface. That usually meant our concrete front steps.
In no time, I could put an impressive point on a piece of wood. I even sharpened real knives and machetes on the steps, too. I’m sure that wasn’t good for the concrete, but, hey, I was 8. What did I care about property values?
The valuable lesson is that nothing gets sharper if it’s rubbed on something soft. You might rub a stick on grass all day long and never sharpen it. You could drag it back and forth through butter and do nothing but make your mom really mad about ruining her butter. If you want it sharp, it’s got to rub against something that causes some friction – something hard enough to grind away the part that’s not wanted.
The same principle is true when it comes to sharpening people. As the Bible’s book of wisdom says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). That sharpening can only happen when there is a bit of friction. Sometimes to help me become a better person, I need someone who will rub away the part that’s not wanted.
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.” While nobody enjoys being wounded, sometimes we need to be. We need someone who will challenge us – who will tell us what we need to hear - to help us grow.
Church is a place of great comfort and love, but it is also a place where people love enough to challenge – to admonish - each other when necessary. Do you have friends like that? Are you a friend like that?
My adult friends are never savage, but they do know how to lovingly sharpen me for the battles of life. You need friends like that.