Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Prov 27:17
Do you know that when iron sharpens iron, sparks actually fly? Just as iron grates on iron to sharpen, and give it lustre, we all need friends in our lives that lovingly, but persistently demand that we become our best self – true friendship is comfortable but never leaves us in our comfort zones.
More than needing true friends in our lives, we ought ourselves to be true friends. And the measure of this was set by the truest of friends when he said, “I no longer call you servants but friends, because I have been completely open with you” (John 15:15). Indeed, no true friendship can sprout, much less blossom where we live life like one endless masquerade ball where everyone wears layers of masks.
As I think about it, it occurs to me that we often divorce fellowship from friendship, thereby creating a means with no end – a journey with no destination. Unlike Lazarus, and his sisters who quite quickly unlocked the friendship level, the disciples of Jesus stuck with the fellowship level until He himself declared, “I no longer call you servants”.
Are you friends with the people with whom you fellowship? Are we too cautious of the sparks that might fly if we rub each other the wrong way, and so forego the possibility of iron sharpening iron?
Might friends let us down? Yes, and that’s why we are told to “…bear with one another and make allowances…” (Ephesians 4:2 AMPC). Might someone take our goodness for granted? Yes, and that’s why we are told, “let us not be weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9).
And when folks totally exasperate us, we can look to Jesus, and draw strength, for when Judas with whom he had just had dinner led a band of soldiers to arrest him, he looked him in the face, and said warmly, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” (Matt 26:50)