“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
Even though this is one of the most often quotes Bible verses about friendship, I still really like it. Though the word picture is somewhat meaningless to modern citizens who don’t often sharpen their iron tools with iron files, the idea is simple enough to understand. I find the idea being sharpened really interesting. To me, being sharpened seems to carry the idea of being vulnerable. Sharpening requires that something be stripped away, the dull edge with its nicks and pits. Being willing to be sharpened by other like-minded people might take some vulnerability. In order to be refined and sharpened, I might need to let go of things that are difficult to let go of, and make myself open to change.
That to me is the real meaning of this passage. Change and refinement are difficult, and it’s only when we let other people in that it happens. If we want to be sharpened, we need to give the people around us the right to advise us and help us to make positive changes. If we aren’t willing to be vulnerable with the people around us or let people in, then we’ll never be sharpened into the kind of people who we were designed and meant to be. Every man is an island, they say. It’s sad that that’s the mantra of the modern age. People were made for community.