Ryan McClure, focusing on the metaphor in Proverbs 27:17 about iron sharpening iron, poses the question as to whether we can really sharpen a friend's countenance. Considering how a blade, whether used in agriculture, as a tool, or weapon, is sharpened, we. . .
Honing a blade re-forms or re-aligns the blade, while sharpening removes metal to expose or create a sharper edge. This happens within friendship, too.
Our interactions with each other work either to sharpen or to produce a dulling effect. We can encourage, build, and sharpen, or we can tear down.
How do we 'sharpen' another's countenance? Most importantly, the imagery implies proximity, closeness. Nothing can be sharpened unless there is contact.