Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.
Proverbs 27:17 NRSV
If you've ever watched a blacksmith at work, you've seen this principle in action. For example, if they're shoeing a horse, they take a stock shoe close to the size and heat it, so it becomes pliable. Then, using the hammer and anvil, shape it to the horse’s hoof. The same idea is used in sharpening a sword or ax. Objects made of the same substance can sharpen the edge of the blade—metal sharpening metal.
As iron is shaped, so are we. Our family and friends mold us--our thoughts, beliefs, and values become shared. That is why we need to surround ourselves with the right kind of friends. The Apostle Paul gives this admonishment in Hebrews 10:24-25, "And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching." At times we may need to be sharpened, shaped, and yes, sometimes rebuked. Yet, at other times we just need to absorb that aura of agape love that exudes from other believers--warming out metal.
Precious God, thank you for friends who love and encourage us. This past year has been challenging. We’ve found it difficult to be together; the imposition of rules and regulations has separated us. We have been struggled to find new ways to be in communion with each other. We give thanks for the technology that has kept us connected, but it is not the same. We long for the time when we can be together in person. God, please help us by the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be blacksmiths for each other. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.