Who are the sandpaper people in your life?
Sandpaper serves an important purpose. It smooths out rough edges. It rubs away bumps and imperfections. It prepares a piece of wood to be painted or polished, so that the piece of wood can become something beautiful and useful -- a bowl, a carving, a piece of furniture.
Sanding is a necessary step in the process of bringing a piece of woodwork to completion. But sandpaper is rough. If you run your fingers across a piece of sandpaper, it doesn't feel good. If you were to take it and rub it vigorously on your arm or leg, it would hurt--a lot. If pieces of wood had feelings and could talk, they would definitely object to being rubbed with sandpaper. They would shout at the person holding the sandpaper, "Stop! This feels awful! You're rubbing me the wrong way!"
Who are the people in your life who rub you the wrong way? Have you considered that maybe God put them there to smooth out your rough edges?
And have you considered that you might be a sandpaper person in somebody else's life? Who are you rubbing the wrong way?
Jesus gives an important principle for dealing with sandpaper people in today's Scripture. Start with the sandpaper person in the mirror. It's easy to point the finger. It's easy to focus on other people's faults. What's hard is to look at ourselves and see our own shortcomings.
When somebody rubs you the wrong way, PRAY, and try asking yourself questions like:
- Why does this person's behavior bother me so much?
- Is there anything I've done to make this situation worse?
- Is there anything I need to apologize for?
- What does it say about me that I find this person so annoying? (For example, does that co-worker bother me because, deep down inside, I'm afraid s/he does a better job than me?)
- What does God want to teach me in this situation?
- Do I need to go to this person and state my concerns and try to work things out? (If so, see yesterday's post for suggestions!)
Pray, asking God to open your eyes and help you be honest with yourself. Identify one sandpaper person in your life and ask yourself the questions above. Based on your answers, choose one step you need to take today.