At LCC, our primary focus is relationships, between each other and more importantly between us and God. We talk about all the benefits of doing faith in community and a big one is often stated by quoting our Proverb for today…
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Too often we only want to surround ourselves with people who think exactly like we do. The slightest disagreement and we dissolve the relationship and seek others whose perspective is more in line with ours. We become even more rabid about this when it comes to our kids, leaving any group with even a whiff of “heresy” as we’ve come to call even the slightest disagreement.
But it is the disagreements that help us to grow. And yes, this goes for our children as well. We need to have people who think differently than we do to help us expand our perspectives and grow as people and as Christ followers. This is what the writer of this proverb means by “iron sharpening iron”.
Yes, of course there are limits. We don’t suggest that brand new believers attend a cult to get another perspective. But in the issues that are not salvation issues (issues about whether we deny Christ or rely solely on Him), it is healthy to have varying perspectives, to read books from those who think differently than us, and to listen to sermons from “the other side of the aisle”.
Sure, people who think just like we do can sharpen us with accountability, with though exercises, and with encouragement, but Jesus did not call us to insulate ourselves from the world let alone other Christians who hold a few different perspectives than we do. In fact, the ones who elevated the importance of “building a hedge of protection around our particular beliefs” were the Pharisees, the only group Jesus ever treated as enemies.