Men of Iron
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Nearly four years ago, as life fell apart in my drug addiction, my problems only multiplied. Knowing I had to go away to inpatient treatment in a few days, I spent as much time with my kids as I could, and while playing, ended up tearing a ligament in one knee. It was painful but bearable, and addressing it would have to wait until after treatment.
When I got out of treatment then, I wanted it fixed. I was honest with the surgeon about my addiction and told him I wanted to do it without pain pills. He was a little skeptical, as it would be quite painful, but said it was my choice. Several people close to me though, warned against the surgery. Is this necessary? Aren’t you just putting yourself in a position to be tempted?
I was a little bitter, but in the end, I listened to those voices and didn’t go through with the surgery. I couldn’t see it at the time, but my own judgment was not to be trusted. Even though I was completely convinced of my rightness, I submitted to the wisdom of others because I knew they had my best interests in mind.
God made us this way, to live in community with each other. It is not good that the man should be alone (Genesis 2:18). Whether we like it or not, we influence others and they influence us.
Unfortunately, it often our nature to drag each other down. I’m unsure about women, but as men, when we get together, we are more likely to encourage each other’s destructive appetites than we are to spur each other on to good deeds.
This is why we must be purposeful about church, AA or small groups, where we regularly meet together to sharpen each other. Today’s passage insists that we need those around us to help us be who we are supposed to be, but that does not happen automatically. If we want to be sharpened, we must surround ourselves with men (or women) of iron and we must choose to be men of iron.