I spent the day with my sister in Christ and dear friend, whom I met in church years ago. Through the years we’ve shared the ups and downs of life, laughter, cries and many meals together! I love her dearly and just “get” her—God has certainly put her in my life for reasons being that we both have a way of speaking into each other’s life that a friend should. A friend sharpens a friend….you know the verse! Over lunch, we entered into our usual talks about life and what God was doing in our lives. She had just finished her fast (she attends another church—love how God’s family is so big), and I pressed her for what she thought God meant by giving her the word, “Healing” for the new year.
I challenged her and asserted, “Dig deep as to what hurt God wants to heal, and what steps does he want you to take in order for Him to truly deliver you from…You need to trust God. If he is asking you to do something crazy as ask for forgiveness, even if you didn’t do anything wrong, do it. Sometimes, we need to ask for forgiveness not for anyone else, but for ourselves.”
As she paused to take in what I said, I noticed her eyes tear up and I saw a glimpse of my sister’s hurt remaining from her divorce six years ago. The dreams of a marriage and the family life she continued to hold onto held her captive with a deep seeded hurt and resentment that had been harbored for all these years. I allowed the sudden discomfort of silence to remain until my friend excused herself to the restroom. I am forever grateful for the friendships that I share; especially those that require trust—trust in the safety of sharing our deepest fears and struggles.
Upon her return, I took the time to simply listen to my friend’s heart. Our conversation concluded with encouragement and appreciation for each other and the new year that laid before us.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17). The most dangerous tool in the kitchen is a knife, especially a dull knife. I’ve never really understood the importance of knives in the kitchen, but have grown to understand their importance; particularly the importance of honing and sharpening them. If your kitchen knife is unable to cut a tomato, it’s time to hone or sharpen your knives! Honing knives are often done by running a knife down a honing steel at an angle in order to give a feel of sharpening the blade of the knife. Chefs will advise weekly honing; however, knives used for heavy cutting may require daily honing. Much like our knife tool in the kitchen, our friendships should be honed or sharpened.
We all need our girlfriends. In these friendships, we need to have the courage to be transparent and ‘real’ with each other in order to keep each other sharp! Like the honing process, you will at times be called to be the steel and remain firm and upright; other times you may need to be the blade needing to be angled to be sharpened. You may never know what someone is going through unless you ask and listen! I admit having the tendency to talk a lot and ask those hard questions; however, I’ve learned over the years that less talking and more listening is all that is needed at times. Friendships require reciprocity. The more transparent you are with your life challenges, placing trust in your friendship, the invitation to reciprocate sharing and being real with each other will increase. Additionally, be sure that you are contributing and not just consuming from your friendship. A dull knife that is honed even regularly may need professional sharpening! Don’t be that dull friend!
OK, name one person that you can call upon to have honest conversations and hold each other accountable. Can’t think of one? Name two to three good friends that you want to begin getting real and allowing them into your life to hold you accountable. Contact them today and tell them how much you appreciate their friendship!
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” – Proverbs 27:17