Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to converse with people of adverse opinions. The ability to share differing ideas, viewpoints, or philosophies without argument or violence is decreasing. 

On a personal level, may I ask how do you handle adversity with those closest to you?

If you were challenged as to why you do what you do, how would you respond? If someone offered a contrary opinion or challenged your leadership, what would follow?

Over the years, I have learned that I need men in my life who are not afraid to confront me about my choices, my direction, or my lack thereof. Our Heavenly Father is telling us that there will be those who may oppose us.

But the opposition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was given a wise piece of advice – Draw close to a man willing to tell you what you are not ready to say to yourself. Listen. Check his words against God’s Word. Pray for wisdom and direction. Then decide. 

Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all thing.”

When did confrontation become a bad thing? 

When did differing opinions turn so quickly into a physical confrontation? When did expressing our viewpoint become hate speech? 

Proverbs 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.”

Fear keeps us from sharing a contrary opinion, viewpoint, or just sound advice.

One of the more challenging leadership tasks is telling someone something that may confront them, upset them, or cause division. 

Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.”

Often, we call it “tough love.”

Refusing our children, declining an offer, or saying something contrary to a leader are just a few situations that we face in our lifetime. Confronting those closest to us and rebuking them can be a daunting task. 

We are risking their love, acceptance, and approval to tell them something that will ultimately help them. I have grown to appreciate those who dare to confront me about the path I’ve chosen, my refusal to choose correctly, or even my laziness. 

A man will challenge my decisions because he desires the best for me out of love. He will process through the hard things with the conversation that delivers the hard truth in love. If you have a friend like that, you are truly blessed indeed.

If you are that person another, do not fear speaking up could save heartache or even their life. It may very well be that God desires to use you to sharpen another. 

A dull knife can be dangerous. Trying to force a dull knife can be more damaging than a razor-sharp blade that slices like a hot knife through butter. 

Our desire to grow and learn can be sharpened by that one who not only sees us clearly but also speaks the truth to our needs without fear of rejection or dismissal. 

As we become more ‘chronologically gifted,’ I, for one, want to be sharper, not duller. Gathering those around us who will speak truth into us out of love are dear friends indeed.

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