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Sharpen or Shy Away

King Solomon compares relationships to the work of a blacksmith, Proverbs 27:17. Just as iron sharpens iron so that a farmer’s plow can dig through arid soil, human relationships need the same kind of attention. No one likes their flaws, imperfections, and weaknesses exposed, Romans 3:10-12, but if you want to reach self actualization, this painful process is necessary.

If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses, Matthew 18:15-16.

One of Jesus’ disciples builds upon this concept in the context of a church. Whether you are wronged or a friend sins against you, the most mature manner to handle this is to meet privately with this individual. If you do and this person doesn’t listen, bring two responsible believers into this situation. If this rebellious soul isn’t willing to change, take this situation to your church so that a resolution can be found.

If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven, Matthew 18:17-18.

Unfortunately, most people shy away from conflict. Instead of being used by God to sharpen one’s faith, wayward offenders become dull, drifting away from God. If you really love someone, correcting and disciplining wrong actions is beneficial for both parties. Thus, each day you have the choice to sharpen or shy away. The next time you have the opportunity to act, remember the words of James 5:20.

by Jay Mankus

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