As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].
I’m sure we have all heard some version of the quote uttered by Spiderman’s Uncle Ben and whose origin has been much debated: “with great power there must also come — great responsibility!” This echoes the sentiments of Luke 12:48, which tells us that much will be required of the one to whom much is given. While we might find this concept easy to apply to a professional position of power or political office or material wealth, we might not always think of it in the context of personal relationships.
I consider it a great honor when someone calls me a friend, because it means that this individual has found me worthy of trust, worthy of time and worthy of the work that it likely will take to maintain a truly deep friendship. Someone has enough confidence in me to allow me to influence their life, and now I have a responsibility to make sure that my influence is for that person’s good. It is a privilege that requires diligent care for the heart that resides inside that trusting soul.
When I am called a friend, I have the joyful responsibility of being permitted to sharpen another continually. Through my influence, I can help turn a dull and useless blade into a sharp and powerful weapon in the kingdom of God. As Christians, it is not only a privilege but a duty to sharpen each other (1 Thes. Ch. 5). If someone has invited you in as a friend, honor that privilege by committing to hone that person and that relationship.