As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another

Posted: Friday, March 06, 2009

Every now and then I like to take a vacation from six feet.

I've been six feet tall since high school, over three decades ago, and so sometimes I just need a break.

I know what the world and people look like from this height. I've seen it too often. The monotony can be unbearable.

New perspectives can be delightful.

A deep love for photography has helped.

One of my favorite photos I shot while lying on my stomach. The composition is exquisite but understand it was only so because the world was being seen from a height that wasn't six feet off the ground.

To see the world better you need to lie down occasionally. Kneel. Stand on chairs. An instructor even pointed out that sometimes the best shot is behind the photographer. When taking a picture of some beautiful scene, try to remember to turn around and see what's on the back side.

Every now and then I like to take a vacation from my spiritual perspective.

There's a wonderful proverb in the Bible: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - Proverbs 27:17.

It's a verse about taking a vacation.

To see something from someone else's height can be refreshing and invigorating. I have been raised in one particular religious tradition all my life and I am very grateful. I have learned much and I owe a lot.

But a love for God's truth compels me to open my eyes wide and learn from those not six feet tall.

So when I contemplate spiritual matters, I want to be exposed to as many different perspectives as I can.

All my life I've been raised an American. I want to read a German or a French author on occasion.

I'm male. I want to hear from women.

I was raised in the twentieth century. I want to listen to voices from the past.

I've almost always been able to have three meals a day. I need to hear from the poor.

I'm a Christian. I listen to people of other faiths talk about God and even listen to those who hate Christianity.

God gives a new view. God sharpens through other people. God's Word is true: one man sharpens another.

So take a vacation! You've earned it.

The trick is, as another Bible verse says, to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Or as I interpret it, be slow to be six feet tall and quick to kneel.

Show respect to those different than you. Try to see it, if only for a moment, from their height. You don't have to agree. Your job is simply to see. Monotony can be unbearable. New perspectives can be delightful.

Charles R. "Rick" Cupp is a minister with the Kenai Fellowship, a Church of Christ, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai.

Sunday Bible Classes for all ages, 10 a.m., Coffee and fellowship 10:45, Worship 11:15, Wednesday Bible classes and worship 7 p.m.

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