Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

 A pastor once told me that it’s never easy to take criticism. And you know what? He was right! My first reaction to criticism, even constructive criticism spoken out of love, was more often than not a little defensive. I usually have to let the criticism soak in and settle a little while before I open my big mouth. If I don’t, I always say something I regret later. Usually when I give myself the time to really think about what was said, I realize there’s actually a lot of truth to what was said. Nevertheless, criticism never feels good because it reminds us that we are not as great as we think we are. It sometimes even feels like a slap in the face when it comes from someone we love. But to not listen and act on the constructive criticism is to miss out on a wonderful opportunity to grow.

When iron sharpens iron, sparks are guaranteed to fly. Some of the old iron must be ground off so that it may once again shine and be effective for its purpose. When you confront someone or are confronted by someone over some issue or action, sparks are going to fly. To stay sharp in life we all need someone who is going to confront us on pride, selfishness, lust, greed and jealousy. The list can go on and on but at the end of the day we need to surround ourselves with people who will be willing to pour into us and help us grow into the best individuals we can be for Christ. So when criticism comes from someone that you know actually loves you, you need to know that it comes from a place that wants the best for you as an individual. Let constructive criticism give birth to magnificence in your life, let the sparks fly, be vulnerable and be prepared for God to use you in ways you’ve never imagined!

QUESTION 1. Do you have people you can trust in your life that have helped sharpen and mentor you? If so, how did they sharpen you and how did you respond?
QUESTION 2. What are some areas in which you could use some sharpening? Who do you know that could mentor you in these areas? (It may be different people for different things: friend, pastor, youth leader, parent, etc.).
CHALLENGE: Find people who are different from you who can help you grow and watch yourself blossom into a resplendent work of art within the mosaic of Christ’s kingdom.
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