People who join together on the journey of faith sharpen each other as iron sharpens iron, the Bible says. For a long time I had the meaning of this all wrong.
I once thought this scripture meant that when somebody did something I considered a bit odd, it was my obligation to correct that person. “I need to sharpen him, as iron sharpens iron”, I’d reason.
Now I realize that the purpose of other people’s behavior is to sharpen me. The one in the group who is hard to love is there to teach me to better love. The individual who requires patience while rambling on in conversation is in my life to help increase my patience. Likewise, the friend who displays overwhelming grace is an example that challenges me to show more grace. They all are instruments of God doing what they do, which sharpens me by extension.
This process requires no real effort on my part, other than to stay engaged with some humans – and the deeper the relationships can go, the better. In the context of true community, people DO sharpen each other. It’s not something for which we have to strive. It simply happens, like the Bible said it would.
In a world where great value is placed on being cutting edge, the method for the spiritual life is simple. Just show up.
Very well stated.
The idea that we each have the opportunity to be used in the lives of others and they in ours as we walk our own paths of spiritual growth is an enriching one. I pray each day for God to guide my thoughts, words and actions so that I might have the most positive impact I can in all my interactions. After that, I have faith that just showing up and being the child of God and unique individual that I am will be enough.
I’m busted! I was trying to read this with sideways glances as my roommate was “rambling” on, and the sentence my eyes lit upon as I gave a glance was “The individual who requires patience while rambling on in conversation is in my life to help increase my patience”.
Thanks for the insight…I wasn’t staying engaged with her, and she deserved more than that.
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Thanks to all of you. Sounds like you’re getting even sharper, Deb. — Another Sheep