Let, iron, by iron, become sharp, and let, a man, sharpen the face of his friend.Pro 27:17
Some days ago I talked about the foolishness of saying no to God. Let me continue and pick up one aspect of what I wrote: if the teachable sits with the wise, he himself becomes wise.
It is of utmost importance who we are with.
A child is easily impressed. It picks up what its surroundings are doing and copies. And it better do so! This is the way God intended us to learn many things: copy from others. Copy my parents.
That way we learn to talk, to walk. But we also learn behavior and self-value. We learn how to react to certain situations. What does mummy do if she wants daddy to do something? And more important – how does she react, if he doesn’t do it?
We learn constantly. Especially in phases of great breakthrough: early childhood, or as a teenager developing our own understanding of manhood, of what it means to be a woman.
By the way – just in parenthesis: there is no such thing as a teenager in the bible. That is an invention of modern age – with all its terrible consequences.
In bible times, when somebody came into that age – 12 for girls, 13 for boys – you know, the age they don’t know what they are and what is happening to them – they were called juveniles, and this lasted until they were 30. They were called sons and daughters of responsibilities. This was the age they learned to be responsible for their actions – not the age we try to still let them be children. Ever heard: “Let them enjoy their childhood as long as possible, it will be soon enough they have to grow up?”
In the old age, a boy with 13 was integrated into the mens’ world. Why? Because iron sharpens iron. We today let them learn from their peers. But their peers don’t know a thing either. Fools teaching fools.
Wisdom is to know how to do things. Knowledge is to know the father. And understanding is to know why we do things the way we do. From obedience flows relationship which will lead to insight.
What happens if a young man is integrated with the men? He has a bunch of hopefully great examples to follow after. Other men that love and obey God and therefore gained and still gain wisdom. Other men that built strong and healthy relationships, both to God as well as to others. Other men that know how to deal with problems and circumstances. Not perfect, but on different levels of maturity. Good examples. And he will learn from his peers too: how do they mimic the elders, how do they implement what they see in all their individuality. Short: how do they become men.
That boy will naturally grow up to be a man. He will not be alone on his path to a responsible life. There will be examples and helping hands through some of the most challenging times in his life. From mummy’s boy to priest in his household. From child to father.
If left to their age group – as men are absent, gone working, and themselves have grown up to be a caricature of what God planned them to be – they become whatever they want. They will have to define manhood all on their own. Their peers become their example, in all their irresponsibility.
Just as I sharpen my knife in the kitchen using another tool made of steel, a man sharpens another man. Men will sharpen each other. No matter the situation. It’s in our making that we learn from each other. We are a creation made for relationship. We learn observing.
Therefore it is paramount to build an environment of sharpening for the good.
The enemy did a great job to build a society with no fathers that sharpens young men to switch blades for street fights or edgeless useless pocket knives.
Let’s build an environment for our young people, especially young boys, to grow up to become the scalpel and heavy duty blade they ought to be. Or even a two edged sword. Build an environment where the teachable can sit with the wise to become wise.
But first and foremost – become wise yourself. Become a father.
If I would wake up ten years older tomorrow, my question would be: have I became a father? Have I become a more precise and sharp knife?