One of their most commonly used tools — abrasives.
And one of the most commonly used abrasives — sandpaper.
Sandpaper is often not paper at all, however, but rather cloth that has been infused with hard, tiny rock particles. Why? So that a do-it-yourselfer (or professional for that matter) can clean, smooth, reshape, polish, or renew a hard surface.
Now wait a minute! An abrasive — something that is hard, rough, and harsh — is the best tool for restoring and renewing other hard surfaces?
Does that apply to hearts as well? If my heart needs to be restored or renewed, if I need to have some rough edges in my character reshaped or removed, does that mean it might hurt? Apparently it does.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another.
Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one with a flattering tongue.
Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.
So in this age of thinking that friendship is only about not hurting other people’s feelings — maybe we need to rethink how life really works. Maybe we need to take to heart and not be offended when others correct us or point out our shortcomings. Maybe we need to remember that hard surfaces (like our hearts) are only renewed when harder surfaces come in contact with them. Maybe we need to remember the function of abrasives.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) And when that means that the renewing process needs a rough, harsh tool to be effective, help me to keep my eye on the goal — and to value those who have the courage to come along side of me as true friends “to make me into a better me.”
P.S. If those friends also have the maturity to speak harsh truth in love and gentleness, then “double-thanks” Lord!