As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
He had no problem with the Bible thumpers who seemed to pervade his workplace. He never felt judged by them, and they always made a point to invite him to church or Bible study. Eventually, he would come to call some of them not just colleagues but friends. The interesting thing was that he never felt the occasion to take even his friends up on their invitations to attend a service. This was not because these friends were unkind to him, but there was a reason why he felt he could trust them only so much. What he noticed was that, although these Christians treated him very well, he could not ignore the way he sometimes saw them treat each other. If that was what it meant to be like them, he preferred to stay the way he was.
Whenever a knife blade comes in contact with another object, one of two things happens. Either the blade becomes dull, or the blade becomes sharp. An afternoon of chopping vegetables in preparation for dinner will make that blade dull. Afterward, you take your steel and sharpen that knife for its next use. When we interact with our brothers and sisters, we have the option to make them sharp or make them dull. Our words have the power of life and death in them. There is spiritual power behind what we say and also how we behave, and it is our responsibility to make sure that our interactions with our brothers and sisters help to sharpen them. Whether we are encouraging, educating or correcting, the result should be the same. We never want to leave a brother or sister dull after our interaction.
There is work for all of us to do in this regard. I do not think there is one of us who has not been guilty of leaving a brother or sister feeling downtrodden or dejected because we did not approach a situation the way we should have. Our sharpening of one another is not just for the Church. It sets a powerful example for the world to understand how it is that this body operates in unity and love. If the world is to know who we are by our love, then what they should see is the children of God growing stronger and sharper because of the effect they have on one another. Whether in word or in deed, we must be mindful of how we leave one another after the time we spend together. Father, keep us mindful of this duty to sharpen our brothers and sisters whenever we are with them.