so i meant to post this short one this morning on the back of ‘unaccounted for’ which a lot of people have read and some of you have commented on.

and it was this thort that i had the other day as i was walking down the street post rugby world cup ‘tragedy’ – that when we talk about the biblical concept of iron sharpening iron, it is not a pleasant, comfortable process although it does lead to positive, growth-enducing results

the way iron sharpens iron is by hitting it. hard enough to bend it. to mold it. to shape it into a new and better thing.

or as i just tweeted on the twitter, “When iron sharpens iron it doesn’t happen by means of a group hug.”

i imagine everyone, or at least most people, want to be better people – we want to be sharpened – we want to love better, to live better, to be more effective at this life thing… but most of us want to skip the ‘this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me’ bit and jump straight to the result…

we want the great teeth but without the pain of the dentist’s needle.

and i guess the main problem with that is that it doesn’t work that way. well not a lot of the time anyways.

iron sharpening iron requires some hitting and some shaping and some heatening of the context of the iron and i believe accountability [of word, action and facebook status for starters] is a huge part of that process.

but the reality is this – that accountability is not taken [well not successfully, not usually, i have the bumps and bruises and unfriendings to prove it] it is given. i invite you to speak into my life, to caution when i appear to be heading down the wrong road, to intervene when i seem to have lost it completely. and the kind of people i invite to hold me strongly accountable [because as a Christ follower i see myself directly accountable to everyone, both Christ-followers and those who don’t have right to speak into my life because i am claiming to at least pursue a certain standard – but then there are significant people i extend a bonus invitation to actively hold me there] are those who i know will do it in love. which is key to how effective that accountability is.

‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27.6

so if you’re really seeking to be a better person, to live more effectively, to have a greater significance in the world, then you need to invite the sharpening that only iron can bring… being reminded that it won’t always be fun, or feel nice… and sometimes it may even be painful and involve your pride being battered and your reputation being dented, but it is so worth it.

so won’t you please hand me the iron…