Proverbs 27:17 Sharpening generates friction and heat

The wisest man who ever lived said,

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another

(Proverbs 27:17)

Solomon used an interesting analogy in this Proverb.  Because sharpening metal requires friction,  it always generates heat, and often causes sparks to fly!

God often uses other people to work in our lives.  Our friends and family may bring out the best in us by lovingly encouraging us.

But God often challenges us using people who rub us the wrong way.

This friction may chafe us.  If we are not careful, we may get hot under the collar and lash out at those who irritate us.  But that would not be the way of Christ.

Jesus would tell us to turn the other cheek, go an extra mile, forgive, and be reconciled to others.

Paul would  tell you:

“No temptation has befallen you that is not common to man, but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Paul would remind you:

  • All things work together for good to those who love God (Rom. 8:28).
  • So you should give thanks in everything because that is God’s will (1 Thes. 5:18).

And James would tell us to:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 / NASB)

So the next time someone gives you some “Constructive Criticism”

  • And you feel yourself getting hot
  • And are are tempted to get mad

Consider the possibility that God is using that person to test you.

Even the most irritating feedback usually contains some helpful truth if you are honest enough and strong enough to face it.

Instead of angrily rejecting the criticism,

Be patient and accept the lesson God has for you. 

Let the trying of your faith produce patient endurance in you, “that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)


But why stop there?  Go “the extra mile.”

Thank them for the gift of feedback they have given you.

(1 Thessalonians 5:18)


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