makes me wanna pull out my old NES…
todays vocabulary via dictionary.com:
forge (verb) – to form by heating and hammering; beat into shape.
cast (verb) – to form (an object) by pouring metal, plaster, etc., in a fluid state into a mold and letting it harden.
tempering (verb) – to impart strength or toughness to (steel or cast iron) by heating and cooling.
i think about these processes a lot in terms of relationships. i have several friends that are so close to me i think of them as family, not friends. every one of those friendships was forged, not cast. they didn’t just flow into place and were suddenly the correct shape and size. they started as random lumps of ugly metal and were heated and beaten and bent and parts were hammered flat or broken off completely. when they came out the other side, they were unrecognizable from the shapeless lumps of ore that they had been. they were beautiful, powerful strong works of art and mastercraft.
here’s the thing, though: it’s not the forging that makes a strong and powerful tool. sure, forged metal is stronger than cast metal. the heating and beating process makes metal denser, removes imperfections and creates a harder product… but it’s the tempering process that makes it truly strong. in the old days of blacksmithing, a sword or other piece of fine metalworking that needed strength was heated and cooled several times and then finally quenched in a sequence of oil, brine, and pure water in order to cool it down in such a way that it became even stronger and harder than it was when it came out of the forge for the last time. without this cooling process or if cooled too fast, the steel becomes brittle and all you’re left with is a pile of shattered metal that you worked really hard on. all the sweat, all the pain, all the heat, all the hard, bad, ugly part… all of it for nothing.
i think this is what Christ wants of us in our relationships. He calls us to temper with compassion, humility and swallowing our pride enough to honestly ask for forgiveness even when we feel wronged and are in pain.
i’m trying to live that. i want relationships that survive the forge. i want friends of tempered steel.