“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another” ~ Proverbs 27:17
Have you ever had someone in your life that rubbed you the wrong way? Has there been someone who brought out the worst in you? Do you have someone in your life like that in the present moment? I am going to take a guess and say that the answer to all three is a resounding — yes! If you don’t have anyone at the present moment though, just wait as there is most likely someone coming around the corner.
This does not sound like an encouraging message but trust me and read on as it truly is meant to encourage you.
I have had many encounters with people that rubbed me the wrong way. They irritated me and they stirred up feelings that are not comfortable to feel. These encounters caused me to behave in ways that I later had to make amends for. They robbed me of my patience and my peace of mind. There were even times that I ran away to avoid them altogether. Can you relate? They are what I call “Devine Appointments” with sandpaper people.
Restoring A Desk
Have you ever used a piece of sandpaper before? Whether you have or haven’t you probably know one of the uses of sandpaper is to make something smoother.
Lets think of a wooden desk that we need to refinish. One of the tasks that needs to happen is we need to take some sandpaper to it in order to take the old paint off. Once that is done we may need to use a different grade of sandpaper to make the wood smooth. Both of these processes will aid us in getting our desk to have a smooth and beautiful finish. Without this process we will end up with a not so great looking desk.
If that desk had feelings I am sure that the process would not be all that comfortable for it. I would imagine that it would even hurt at times. If I was the desk I may kick and scream and have a tantrum or I may simply run away and avoid the sandpaper.
Much like the desk that needs the sandpaper to make it smooth we also need some of our character smoothed. I call this process – engaging with sandpaper people.
Sandpaper people are actually a blessing – even through it doesn’t feel like it at the time. God utilizes these relationships to help build and smooth our character. They are in our lives to teach us patience, tolerance, self-control, empathy, compassion and love. God allows them into our lives to refine us and to help us lose some of our selfishness and even rebellion. They offer us hope and they offer us growth.
We get a choice when we are confronted with these sandpaper people relationships. We can either embrace them and ask God what it is He is trying to teach us. Or we can run away from them and try to avoid them altogether. I want to caution you if you decide to go with the avoiding route. You may have avoided that particular relationship with that particular person, however there will be another one just like it coming your way – anytime soon. The face of the person may change, however the roughness of their character against yours will be the same.
Embrace The Sandpaper Person
By embracing the sandpaper person and allowing God to lead you in the relationship you are then headed to a journey of spiritual growth. The awesome thing about this is that you do not have to do this alone. God promises that He will give you strength to do all that He asks of you to do. He promises that He will help you in your encounter with your sandpaper person.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1
Father God, I confess that I am not a fan of the sandpaper people that have been placed in my path. It seems as though I either try and avoid the relationship and the situation with that person, or I react in a negative manner towards that person. I know that neither of those are pleasing to You. Please forgive me for not responding in godly ways. The truth is that I have tried to deal with the sandpaper people in my life on my own – in my own strength and naturally that has not been a successful route to take. Lord, please help me to embrace the sandpaper people that cross my path. In particular I ask that You help me with ( insert name if you choose). Show me this person through Your eyes and help me to respond to him/her, instead of to react. I pray that You will teach me what it is that I am to learn from the sandpaper relationships and that You will utilize them to strengthen my character. Lastly, I realize that I am at times someone else’s sandpaper person. Let me not forget that and give grace to my sandpaper people as I would like others to give to me. —In Jesus’ Name ~ ~ Amen
What do you usually do when you encounter a sandpaper person? Are you willing to embrace them and the situation? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear from you and pray for you too!
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