“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27:17

Friendships that incorporate this proverb are usually stronger because they benefit from the hard-won trust. One had to confront the other about a flaw or spiritual misstep, expecting change. The other had to receive the confrontation, with humility, so that there could be positive change. Such things rarely go down without sparks flying and egos being bruised when the Holy Spirit and love aren’t involved. We are more or less warned about the inflammatory nature of such an endeavor if done with the wrong motivation.

When iron sharpens iron, they collide at such a speed and angle resulting in a very controlled amount of material being sheared off for the purpose of rendering a sharper blade. We see this with a spinning grindstone and a blacksmith pushing the edge of a dull blade to its moving surface. Sparks fly and the sword’s edge heats up with the friction, but with just the right angle and pressure, the sword ends up much sharper than it began.

There’s a certain confidence one can have from that kind of relationship. You know that they are truly invested and that they value your friendship if they went through such an ordeal, and took the risk of correcting you. When you engage in reciprocal correction, or speak truth to each other, you have a mutual bond of respect and a more godly relationship.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17

In Ecclesiastes 4:12, the Bible tells us that “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” If we let the Holy Spirit enter into our friendship and intertwine with us, we will grow together, as the Spirit allows. It can be such a source of joy and just good old fun to lighten even the darkest times.

Jonathan Duncan

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