Friendships That Sharpen

Matt Mylin   -  

Every person I admire for living out an authentic faith has a few things in common:

– They have learned to endure tests and temptations.

– They have a longstanding commitment to reading and applying scripture.

– They have a close circle of friends who encourage and challenge them to grow.

Reading the Bible to build a biblical worldview is an important habit. Fostering friendships who help you apply it is priceless. 

Unfortunately, too many people attempt to build friendships focused on themselves. This mindset leads people to see relationships for only what others can do for them. However, spiritually life-giving friendships should be mutually beneficial. How?

Proverbs 27:17 gives us the principle:

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

These kinds of friends are hard to find but when you do, hold them closely. They will push you to think differently, challenge your assumptions, and call you out when you’re going off course.

Consider how a blade is sharpened. The pressure of iron must be applied explicitly at the correct angle on both sides of a knife. Heat increases with the blade’s pressure; Some sparks may even fly. However, when everything cools down, the result is a sharper edge. No one likes a dull knife.

Now compare that to how friends sharpen each other. A trusted friend will help you see something from a different angle. Discussions may feel like applied pressure that may even get heated, but in the end, you will be better because of it.

Oscar Wilde said, “Good friends stab you in the front.”

Solomon said it better, “An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy” (Proverbs 27:5-6).

You can get to the heart of a matter through deep, meaningful conversations built on trust. It’s like the difference between snorkeling and deep sea diving. Snorkeling stays at the surface, seeing things from a surface level. Deep sea divers view everything from different angles, but you must be willing to go a little deeper.

Be a friend who can sharpen others and can handle being sharpened. See how it helps you grow!