As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
So this past Sunday, my pastor and dear friend Phil preached about relationships. On the podcast we do with our dear friend Kevin, he often quotes Proverbs 27:17. Iron sharpens iron. He mentioned it in a podcast we recorded recently that I was editing. It’s a recurring theme for him, for us. And since Sunday, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about relationships.
There are so many different Bible verses about different kinds of relationships. The ten commandments give us the law for not only what to not do for God, but for each other, such as don’t murder and don’t lie. Don’t covet. Jesus goes further and tells us not to be angry. Ephesians 4 tells us to be humble, gentle, and patient bearing with one another in love. Hebrews 10 tells us to spur each other to love and good deeds, and to continue to meet together and encourage each other. Genesis tells us that God said it’s not good for us to be alone. And there’s many more, but one thing is definitely true, and that is that we were never meant to be alone and were meant to have relationships with one another.
But I see Proverbs 27 as the summary of it all. Iron sharpens iron. What does that mean to me? Well, it means many things. It means that we help each other in getting rid of the defects, meaning being accountable for sin. And I could talk about how freeing that is for hours. It means that we make each other sharper, and that word has many meanings that can be applied in metaphor. Sharper in knowledge, health, mental well being, see better, all of it. It can also mean that we get stronger. We are stronger together.
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but for so much of my life I’ve dealt with a heavy social anxiety. I almost missed a milestone birthday of one of my best friends because of it. It was that birthday of my friend Michael that finally woke me up and made me realize I needed to do something about it. I wasn’t doing it on my own. So, I went to a doctor, one I knew I could trust to help me. It was that relationship of trust with someone that allowed me to enjoy fellowship with someone I call brother for a special day in his life. And I am so thankful.
It was my relationship with my dear friend Deborah, who’s been like a mother to me in so many ways, that got me back to church. Because of my past with broken people in the church who pushed me away, I couldn’t even go to church without having an anxiety attack, literally shaking. It was awful. But my relationship with her, and the fact that I trusted her because we built that relationship, led me back to church, where I found more fellowship with people that want to glorify God. It’s so freeing and amazing. Now, it can be hard to pull me from the building.
That’s just a taste of what relationships have done for my life. I told Phil this week it feels like it was appointed by God specifically. And yes, I know God will do that. However, I also think that we are appointed to build relationships with the body of Christ, not just a few. Our circle of influence may not be huge, but relationships are key. We talked about on our podcast how when I met Kevin for the first time at our discipleship meeting, I didn’t know him. Nor him me. And that relationship and trust built over time brought about a friend I call my brother, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
So what did I learn this week? That relationships are key to growing in Christ. They’ve made me better and stronger. Plus, they just make life infinitely better in the process. Thank you Lord for the relationships I have, you have blessed me.