Junction House is located in the Hazel Dell neighbourhood of Vancouver, Washington USA. Young men who are in transition come to stay in our multi-function residence. Some stay for a few weeks and others are with us for a year or so.
We designed the Junction House to serve a wide range of needs for our young fellows. The truth of Proverbs 27:17 NKJV guides us:
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”
We also find inspiration in the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the churches in Corinth and Rome about not causing one’s brother to stumble in his faith. In fact, we speak each day with our young guys about these two core elements of healthy life and active faith.
When guys walk through our front door for the first time and begin to hear about these values, the response is almost always the same:
Most of you readers would affirm the idea of living life in a manner that does not hurt others. One of the challenges we face at Junction House is that our young men arrive here with a desperate survival mentality: “I’ve got to look out for me at any cost.” And, the thought of being “real” with a bunch of strangers as we wrestle with these truths is certainly not on the top of their list!
As I write this, I’m reminded of countless Bible studies where we’ve discussed the difficulty in living out the truth of Proverbs 27:17. (By the way, I’m aware that some Bible scholars take a antithetical or opposite view of this verse’s wording. Here, I embrace its more commonly-held meaning.)
In our Bible studies, I try to explain to our young fellows not only the verse’s meaning but—more importantly—it’s application:
Proverbs 27:17 speaks to the character of a man.
Here’s an example of what we talk about in our studies at the Junction House. Maybe it will speak truth into your life too!
Take a moment and think about the friendships you’ve had. Start all the way back in the days of your childhood.
Now, think over the significant life events you’ve experienced, both positive and negative.
Which friends were you with during those times?
What kind of life do those friends have today?
More to the point: what kind of person are you when those people are around?
Now, this probably seems obvious, but you need real friends!
Friends who will encourage and support positive decisions. Friends who, by their example, will have you striving to be a better you. Friends who will hold you accountable when you start to deviate from your stated path.
And in the same manner, you need to be a real friend as well. Iron files will sharpen iron, and a real friend will sharpen another.
Are you a real friend?
And who are your friends?
Are they truly friends? Or, are they mostly people who will allow or perpetuate your previous negative decision making?
It’s a pretty intense time for these young men as they consider where they have been, and where they are now going.
As our young men move forward through their stay at Junction House, they stumble at times. We’re all human, right? They have trust issues. It’s hard for them to believe in anything or anybody but themselves as a means of survival.
During their stay, our young fellows spend time with and learn from an amazing group of volunteers. These mentors love them right where they are and love them too much to let them stay there. These are all people of strong character and an unshakable foundation of faith in Jesus Christ. From encouragement to accountability, our young men are surrounded by examples of lives well-lived and purposes achieved.
Lives are getting turned around. We even have celebrations! We recognize our young guys’ accomplishments. There are milestones they reach which at one time seemed impossible.
And yet, we continually ask them to assess themselves and their influences. Time and again, “As iron sharpens iron…” becomes the topic of another reinforcing conversation.
We’re all still growing!
Thanks for giving me the chance to share this glimpse into what’s happening in our Junction House.