Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category
“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.
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
This verse is similar to the declaration that Paul makes later in the new testament that “Bad company corrupts good character.” It’s strange to think that who I choose to have as my close friends will determine how well I develop as a person. Most of the time, we don’t choose our friends based on whether or not they’ll help us to develop into better people. We choose out of availability and the similarity of our interests. But friendship is a powerful thing, letting someone into your life to help advise and steer the course of your decisions. If we choose poorly, then we might have a much more difficult time growing in both wisdom and character.
It seems that God has designed us each to be a part of a community. None of us was built to live as an island, all alone in the ocean. We’re built for community and we’re heavily influenced by the people we surround ourselves with, whether we know it or not. It wasn’t until I actually found a wise friend that I finally realized how great a thing it was. I saw myself actually growing and becoming better and being able to talk about life and what it means to be a man in modern American society. Now I can clearly see how a companion of fools suffers harm.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
This verse, like many of the verses in the book of Proverbs, has both a positive and a negative declaration. It shows both sides of the coin. It’s such an interesting description of how our relationships ought to look like. A man of many companions may come to ruin. Why in the world is that? It seems as though the opposite would be true, that a man of many friends is blessed. But what if all of those relationships are only surface deep? What if none of those companions are close friends, like brothers?
I think that this is a really powerful Bible verse on friendship. I have always been a man of many companions, and I had never really understood why it was a bad thing. But that I started to realize that if all of my relationships are only surface deep, if I don’t have any friends that are as close to me as brothers, then I might not be able to stand up to the trials and challenges that life throws my way when life gets tough. If I don’t have the courage to have real relationships with those around me, letting myself be vulnerable enough to let them in, then I’ll be forced to stand alone when it really matters.