4 minute read
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)
People sharpen people.
Whatever relationship is the most confrontational is the one doing the most sharpening. Jesus tells us:
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them…But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:32-36 NIV)
We all have that one person who rubs us the wrong way. Every word that comes out of their mouth is annoying. Just the sound of their voice makes your skin cringe. Typically the person is a family member. Whoever that person is, loving them will sharpen you the most. Thank God, loving from a distance is still loving.
Love is the best sharpener.
When we truly try to love others well, we become sharper. God knows we don’t arrive at a point in life where loving others becomes easy. Each day we choose first to love God, then apply the love we receive from Him to others; we grow.
Right now, God’s sharpening me with a new challenge: not taking offense. He is revealing to me how easily I’m offended. I’m learning I put expectations on people they never agreed to; therefore, I am disappointed. He’s showing me examples of how to respond in offensive situations. Daily, He renews my spirit and gently prompts me when offense begins to rear its ugly head.
Prayer helps love.
For love to sharpen us, we must pray. Lifting up the relationships which challenge us most will open the door for God’s love to pour into it. As you pray, God doesn’t change the person; He changes you. He softens your heart towards them in ways you never imagined. God reveals truth to us when we pray, usually about ourselves.
You can love anyone with God. Sometimes, the best way to love them is from a distance, with prayer. Unhealthy people who don’t understand boundaries must have boundaries set for them. To put guardrails in place, you must know your limits. If you aren’t healthy yourself, you can’t help others get healthy. We all have areas in our lives where we aren’t well; all of us have spaces that need sharpened. Only with people will we grow.
God is always sharpening us. As we journey forward with Him, He brings people into our lives who will teach us. As one friend said at lunch the other day, “I can learn something from everyone I meet.” We all can.
Love God, love His people. Watch Him sharpen you through them.
Question of the Day:
How has God sharpened you lately?
Further Reading:Ezekiel 29-30 NIV, Hebrews 11:32-12:13 NIV, Psalm 112:1-10 NIV, Proverbs 27:17 NIV