One friend sharpens another ...
You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another. -Proverbs 27:17 MSG
In this world of leaders and followers it is great to imagine a relationship that is built on mutual respect and fellowship. I have never been truly comfortable with the mentoring relationship because I always come away sharpened from those friendships. I remember the three years that I weekly "mentored" men behind bars. Each Tuesday it seemed that these men would teach me so much more than I ever did them. In truth, I found much encouragement in those men.
I think that encouragement is the word that I think of when I ponder this sharpening aspect of friendship. Sometimes the encouragement involves a tough message that is delivered like sandpaper to our pride. And often these words simply give us courage to face another day. Yet behind the words this sharpening is filled with great love. There is no doubt in our minds that both kinds of sharpening come from a person who cares deeply for us. For that I am thankful.
Thank you for the friends that sharpen and encourage us Lord. Help us to be such friends.