Piers and the Power of Peers

dockThe answer to the question you may have is, “No and yes.”  There is not a misspelled word in the title of the blog, and I do know the difference between a peer and a pier.  Homophones like “pier and peer” can be a source of confusion:  They sound alike, but they are spelled differently and mean different things:

  • A pier is a structure built on posts that extends from land into the water, and it provides a place for boats to dock.
  • A peer is a person who is equal to you in one or more ways (ability, age, social status, etc.)

This next statement might muddy the water instead of clear it up:  Because a peer is also defined as something of equal worth or quality, it’s possible for piers to be peers.  It’s even possible for you to act as a pier for your peers when you provide a safe harbor for them in the stormy times of life.

As a peer, you exert influence that is either positive or negative.  Solomon paints a powerful contrast of the two:

  • Proverbs 1:9: “My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded.”
  • Proverbs 27:17: “In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” character?  Have you been enticed or are you the enticer?  Have you sharpened or dulled the character of your peer group?  Are you the shelter in the time of storm or the storm? general

The storms of life are a common denominator of humanity—everyone will face one at some time.  General Douglass MacArthur knew this, and he offered this pray for his son:

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength.

Then I, his father will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain. ”

I hope you will do more than just read this and lay it aside and forget it.  I encourage you to peer into the meanings of piers and peers and try to develop a life of peerless character.

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