As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpens iron is a common phrase when looked at in the natural sense can be misleading. Iron as it exists cannot truly sharpen other iron as they are of the same consistency and strength.
Before you all stop reading and run me out on a rail let me continue…
When iron is of the same density, just like any other substance it will not wear down or sharpen its counterpart. Therefore, and as is intended in the scripture, there would need to be differing levels of density,strength and texture for iron to sharpen iron.
The same is in the case of men, we can sharpen each other in these ways:
- Spiritual guidance
- Sharing experience
- Learning from mistakes
- Being a sounding board
- Trust confidant
All of these and more can be accomplished without diminishing our character or causing one to be superior or inferior to the other. As men, if we are strong enough to admit our own shortcomings, we provide ourselves with the opportunity to learn and grow with others.
The challenges we face today is that many men were raised with the idea of asking for help is just not what we do. The men that gave us this advice however were of a different generation.
This generation was already unknowingly sharpening each others character in the form of things like the military, all boys schools, discipline in the home and at school, church communities, rotary and other men clubs (at the time), and most of all families that stayed together.
With these types of background the expectations of a man were pretty well established from early on.
In today’s world however things are quite different. No longer is military service required, the church communities are more focused on raising money rather than families, and the family structure is virtually nonexistent.
As men today, many of us are raised in broken or dysfunctional homes. We are then thrown into a world of chaos with little morality to be found. We are unprepared for the decisions before us and therefore are bound to pay for the poor ones.
We feel that we must maintain our Machiavellian bravado and refuse to show signs of emotion or weakness. We would rather make bad decisions and suffer in silence then ask for help. The idea of sharing our problems or concerns becomes an unbearable option.
Last time I checked we had the best teacher around that exemplified what being a man meant even if our own fathers didn’t. Jesus had twelve..okay eleven close male friends that he relied upon as both a mentor and companion. These friends were full of advice and were there to support,counsel and console Jesus along his journeys.
It would appear to me if we are willing to put our trust and faith in our Lord and his disciples from over 2000 years ago, we could probably do the same today.
I challenge you to seek out a group of men, men that share similar values and form a group. Make it a regular event whether by phone, or in person to check in with each other regularly. Put it on the calendar, hold each other accountable. Unashamedly speak the truth with the men you choose, confess as well as celebrate. No where does it say that you have to do all this life that God has given you alone.
Question: What are you willing to give to begin being sharpened in your life?
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