I used to own a rock tumbler, a machine that takes ordinary rocks and transforms them into polished, gemlike stones. The process would last for days, and the tumbler was so loud I had to keep it in the garage! After I put rocks and grit into the barrel with some water, the machine would spin everything around so the rocks scraped against each other, slowly grinding away the edges. After all the grinding and polishing, I was left with smooth, shiny, colorful stones.
Tumbling rocks takes grit and perseverance, and it isn’t a process that can be rushed, but it’s worth it—a lot like friendship. Building friendships is hard work for me. I’m an introvert, and talking to new people doesn’t come naturally to me.
For all of us, it takes time and effort to get to know someone well, and it can be hard to trust new people. But friendship also offers opportunities to love and support others, find fun and encouragement, and, especially, learn from each other. Like how the rocks in the rock tumbler scrape against each other and become polished in the process, friends can strengthen each other by pointing out each other’s struggles and helping them grow. Proverbs 27:17 says it this way: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Even if you struggle to make friends, know that you have a friend in Jesus. He is the King and Creator of the universe, but He knows and cares for us on a deeply personal level. He is a faithful friend who is closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). When Jesus came and lived among us, He showed us what it truly means to be a loving friend (1 John 4:11). He loves us so much that even when we were living in sin and rebellion against Him, He gave up His life for us (Romans 5:8). Then He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death so we could be forgiven and become friends of God. Once we’ve put our trust in Jesus, His Spirit lives in us, helping us grow in our relationship with God—and in our relationships with each other. Friendship can be difficult, but it is a beautiful treasure. • Abby Ciona
• Good friendships involve conflict all the way through, not just at the beginning. We are different people, and we’ll disagree about things until Jesus returns and makes all things new. Do you know anyone who loves others well, even in times of disagreement and conflict?
• As we seek to love others well, how could it be helpful to remember the way Jesus loves us, even when we get frustrated with Him and don’t listen to Him?
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)