Iron sharpens iron,
and one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Proverbs 27:17 says, “iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” This verse is one I see floating around all the time. I hear people say that they want relationships with people like “iron sharpening iron.” I think that people want to be sharp but not sharpened. We all would like to improve, be more helpful, and contribute something to the world around us. But do we like the process? Iron sharpening iron is not a pleasant endeavor because it’s a violent process that involves fire, clashing, and refining as little bits of iron are chipped away until all you have is the sharpened blade.
An excellent example of this principle at work is found in any good English class. When writing a paper, one of the best ways to improve your paper is for you to receive a peer review. But a good peer review does not tell you all the fantastic things about your writing. A good peer review will include encouragement, but it will not be limited to simply giving you positive feedback. A peer review that refines an essay challenges your paper on its weaknesses. It points out flaws in the language, ways you could’ve written a sentence better, and it will even be a stickler for grammar. It might feel uncomfortable, and it might even hurt your feelings. But the paper that comes from that peer review will be so much more refined than it would have been otherwise.
Like a peer review on an essay, we need the same thing in life. We need friends who will lovingly and humbly confront, admonish, and even rebuke us and gently point us back to Christ. We weren’t made to follow Jesus alone. We were made to sharpen and be sharpened by our brothers and sisters in Christ.