You use steel to sharpen steel,
and one friend sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17 MSG
If I had to pinpoint one thing that I missed most about the true friends I had in my twenties- before I moved, became involved in church work, and unwittingly got myself on my island– I would have to say it was that they weren’t afraid to say the hard things. At its best and most true, friendship is not merely a mutual admiration society.
Of course, friendship should be a safe and encouraging place. But a true friend won’t sit by and watch you make bad choices, allow you to fall into patterns of sin, or get lazy and shirk your responsibilities. A true friend will, lovingly and gently, say what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. A true friend will know your goals and take them seriously enough to make sure you remain on track. A true friend will know when it’s time to just listen in silence, and when it’s time to give you a kick in the pants.
In the last eight years or so, as my basket #2 grew and flourished, I went to moms’ nights out, occasional Bible studies, moms’ group meetings and family events. I had plenty of encouragement, laughs and support. I commiserated with my friends about the life of a mom, sometimes shared prayer requests, and even occasionally my deeper struggles. I don’t want to downplay these times because they were emotionally, socially and spiritually fulfilling in their own way.
But there were times I needed sharpening. And you can’t sharpen steel with silk. Or even terry cloth. Sharpening requires friction, something rough to scrape against. I longed for someone who would help me become a better me when I lost sight of my goals and priorities. Someone to whom I could confess my sins who wouldn’t shy away from holding me accountable even as she forgave, loved and prayed me through them.
To me this is a part of friendship that, while it may only take up a small percentage of actual day-to-day interaction, allows me to spiritually and emotionally rest, knowing that my friend truly has my back and I have hers.
Is this an important part of friendship for you?
How would it feel to have a friend who was willing to
say the hard things while still fully
accepting and loving you?