Friday, July 22, 2011

Sandpaper People

One of the joys of camping is sitting around the fire reading a good book.

My sister’s book had an interesting title: Sandpaper People: Dealing with The Ones Who Rub you the Wrong Way.

We all have sandpaper people in our lives. They are the ones who are always complaining and who suck all the energy and life right out of your bones. They are the hyper-critical people who make you feel defensive and on edge. Or they are the successful, beautiful people who make you feel like a loser. We avoid such people at all costs. We hope they don’t notice us when we see them at the mall and complain about them to our friends in hopes that they have the same impression of them.

The name “sandpaper people” is apt because such people are abrasive. But it is also apt for another reason. Sandpaper is rough so that it can smooth out sharp edges, flatten bumpy surfaces and rub the splinters out of wood. Those sandpaper people in our lives serve the same purpose. They smooth out the rough patches of our spirit by teaching us patience and humility. They give us the opportunity to love and forgive when it is not easy. It is such people, even more than our family and friends, who will help get us into heaven.

There is no getting away from them. They are everywhere. But they need not wear us down to nothing. By embracing them with patience and love, we can become less abrasive ourselves and grow more and more into the loving people God has called us to be.

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