Most Saturday mornings I join fifteen to twenty-five other men in our church lobby to share what’s going on in each of our lives and to uplift our brothers. We encourage each other, provide God’s counsel and share God’s solutions to the natural challenges we each face. None of us ever know what to expect when we enter that room at 7:00 am; but experience has taught us that over the next hour and a half each of us will receive one or more words of wisdom that will be apropos to our unique life situation.
This week was no different. As we talked in general about relationship issues, an elder gentleman reminded us that in especially close relationships (husband to wife, parent to child, even good friend to good friend), when we perceive a problem, the human tendency is to want to “teach” the other. This is usually not a good idea! For words of admonishment to loved-ones are often less effective and potentially more combative than simply demonstrating by one’s own life the lesson we hope to convey. I found this word though simple, to be invaluable.
Something in the make-up of women seems to make it natural for them to form and maintain close bonds with other women that allow them to expose their frailties and concerns about life and its challenges and to ask for guidance. But men need those special bonds with other men as well. We need a trusted core of like-minded brothers with whom we can share our trials and seek and obtain good counsel and to whom we are accountable for our actions. Wise old Solomon clearly understood this principle when he said: “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
Some in this community of encouragers and advisors have been serving this need for twenty-four years now. It might seem like it takes a lot of commitment to show up at 7:00 am on the only morning that many men have to sleep in. However, to me personally, it’s been not only well worth the cost, but it’s been a necessity. I encourage every man I talk with to join us. If you’re not a part of such a community you need to join one. And if you don’t know of one in your area, you need to form one.