Gushers. Do you have gushers in your life? One dictionary defines ‘gush’ as speaking or writing with an exaggerated enthusiasm. Gushers make you feel good. They tell you everything you want to hear…they will likely avoid what you need to hear but they will most definitely give you a steady stream of what you wanna hear. They tell you you’re wonderful and don’t have anything bad to say to you…to your face, anyway. I knew a gal who made this gasping noise when she thought that something was going really well and she was excited. Many of us like gushers. They give us stroke and reality is we need to be encouraged…but we need to be encouraged based on the truth.
The longer I live the more I appreciate the ‘iron sharpens iron’ guys and gal in my life. I have a few. One is a former church leader, one should be a church leader, one is my wife, and I also have a number of pastor bros. These are the friends we need. They don’t always beat around the bush, their words are seasoned with salt, but they bring you what you need to hear. They will say something that sharpens you and sometimes it may sting and cause you to wince.
Peter had Jesus. In Matthew 16 when Peter was right as to Jesus’ identity, He said that Peter was bang on but a few moments later when he told Jesus He didn’t have to go to the cross, Jesus shot straight with Him. One moment he had a thought that was so God generated and the next moment he said something that came from the pit of Hell and it smelled like smoke…and Jesus told him. Do you have people in your life like that?
Peter also had Paul. In Galatians 2 Peter was free to eat with his Genitle bros but when his Jewish posse road into town he snubbed his Gentile gang when they saddled up to the table for dinner. What did Paul do? Public sin, public confrontation…Paul called foul. Do you have people in your life like that?
My favourite is Nathan and David. I’ve mentioned this before. David’s wanderings from God were evident and Nathan uses his creativity and draws David in through a little story that got him emotionally wired in 2 Samuel 12. And just as David wants the bad guy in the story to be hung from the rafters, Nathan identifies the real villain…David himself. It was a two-by-four to his soul that was needed…and it caused him to repent. You can read David’s prayer in Psalm 51. Do you have people in your life like that?
Not everyone in our lives are going to be our Nathan or our Paul. If we believe in the biblical concept of church body, and we should, we will have x number of relationships in that body, some closer and some more superficial. There may be a smaller group that we consider friends and some from that group may be tighter, more intimate friends. We may even have a best friend and for those of us who are married, our spouse should be the one we’re closest to. Think about Jesus. There were lots of disciples and there were the twelve…but he also had the inner circle of three and John was His best friend. Do you have people like that in your life?
 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11-12 ESV)
A true friend can help us see our blinds spots. A true friend injects truth into the relationship. If we have good friends that we are afraid to share the truth with that may send them a little sideways and may damage the relationship then we have a friendship that is based on something other than the truth. True friendships need truth. They help us change. They help us mature. And they help us make God look good.
 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)