Someone ever rubbed you the wrong way? As in disagreed with you, angered you, frustrated you, or disappointed you?

It causes a friction like none other.

Relationships just do this.

It causes us to shift uncomfortably in our chairs.

It challenges us to own our part.

It creates chaos, even if only for a small window of time.

We have no idea why someone jumped all over us the minute they saw us. What in the world could I have done, if I just walked in the door?

Their issue. However, my initial reaction, is to go into defense mode. Why?
I’m thinking through what could I have done. Then I go to my “go to emotion.” Yep, ANGER!

I made this confession the other night at Bible Study. In fact, I was plain prideful about it. (which if you had been there, you would have known it was a subject we were discussing) I could have been wearing a big letter P around my neck!!!

The way I see it, rubbing helps remove the tarnish from us. Allowing it to happen moves us into a place of humility and humbleness.

Tarnish; you know the ugly stuff that needs to go away.

Friction from the rub kinda burns.

I imagine sparks flying. Words spewing. Feelings hurt. Confusion. Temperature rising.

Here’s what God’s Word says:

Proverbs 27.17 “ As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

I googled the process, so I would have a clearer picture of what it looked like.

The “Iron Sharpening Iron” process was carried out in a few steps.
1. First was the pounding out of the sword with the iron hammer. They
would flatten it around the edges like sheet metal.
2. Second, they would use an iron file or an iron-ore stone to take create a razor-edge.
3. Thirdly, they would use another piece of iron to rub and lift that edge. This would have to be done whenever the edge would become dull.

Can you imagine the pounding it takes? I bet you can! You’ve been there, perhaps as early as today. Someone has taken the liberty to pound you for whatever reason.

The filing process is where it burns. Metal on metal until there is a razor sharp edge. The dull has been filed away.

Then the rubbing and lifting. Not with a soft rag but again with iron. Until it is so sharp it cuts a hair.
What I’m realizing is we need the rub. We need the tarnished buffed away. Usually, it’s a process, because we are prideful, stubborn people.

At some point, though, there is a glimmer of shine under the dull. We’ve been hammered enough.

Our pride dwindled to a whimper. Not loud and proud anymore. We begin to see the truth and can take our ownership of what we need to own.

This is why particularly we are created to live in community. To rub each other, buff and lift one another, and cause each other growth.

God is not opposed to using anyone to help us get our shine back.

He has shown in His word there are people He’s had to rub to get them moving. Maybe it’s forgiveness , maybe it’s going somewhere they didn’t know the destination, or just maybe growing  someone into a king.

I need and so do you, people who push when you need to be pushed. I need someone to tell me I’m wrong. I need someone to question my motives. I need someone to hold me accountable. This is what iron sharpening iron looks like. It can get ugly, but here’s what I know:
At my age, I don’t want to be let off the hook.  I want to know what I need to do. I want to make it right as quick as possible. (ok, if I’m exhausted, it may take me longer. I can get grumpy and my stubborness is amplified)

The rub is required. We cannot grow without it. Accept it.

God always has a purpose for the rub. He usually knows when it needs to happen.

Recognize the rub, walk through it, and shine,  otherwise, you might be joining me with a big P draped around your neck.


2 thoughts on “THE RUB

  1. Thank you for writing this! Definitely a message we all need to hear… And one that we don’t often recognize while we are in it. Here’s to recognizing these times for what they are and shining a lot quicker. 🙂


    1. Such an apt description of the often painful process of growth- being caught red handed full of pride and knowing I erred, if only to defend myself. I hate how uncomfortable it is and yet, humbling myself bears such “shiny” fruit- later. You gave us a vivid picture of the great purpose for close fellowship- shaving our sharp corners and wearing off dullness- they don’t get dealt with as well anywhere else. Thanks for a little gentle iron- I needed that!


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