As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
We love to quote this proverb but have we really ever considered what it means?
Often, we picture a nice easy mentoring relationship, two people sitting over coffee. But think about what is takes for iron to actually sharpen iron. The two pieces of iron actually have to rub up against each other with considerable force. There has to be a fair amount of pressure. What actually causes the sharpening to occur is friction. There has to be enough force and pressure to cause friction. And when there is friction there is also heat and even sparks. The metal will never become sharp without pressure, friction and heat. But when we have pressure and friction in our relationships we tend to think there is something wrong. If that pressure and friction is in the context of a mentoring relationship it can be a good thing. It is through this kind of relational friction that we will actually grow. I had a professional coach tell me at the beginning of our relationship, “we are going to disagree, we are going to butt heads.” He knew this kind of relational friction would occur, but it was necessary for him to help me grow.
So, do you have enough relational friction in your life, from someone who is committed to helping you grow? When there isn’t some friction and heat in our life, we probably aren’t growing. Commit to growing, even if it means inviting some friction into your life. Coaching/mentoring relationships, discipleship, small groups, and church life are all great ways to do this.