Post by Faith Reboot’s Marietta Taylor www.mariettataylor.net)
I called her Lady Sandpaper. Every encounter with her left me raw.
I am not proud to say that anyone who ventured into a conversation with me got “treated” to my complaints about her. The more time I spent around her, the more she rubbed me raw and the more my ill intent towards her grew. I could have been nominated as the poster child for what Christians should not be or do. I didn’t think anything about the stuff we are taught in church about loving one another. I had decided she wasn’t lovable.
In the next week’s Wednesday night Bible study we studied agape love. That’s the kind of love that’s self-sacrificing, putting the welfare of others above your own. As if that wasn’t enough to give me that “I think they’re talking to me” thought, in that Sunday’s sermon, my pastor taught that regardless of what the other person is doing, we are to do the right thing. I was reminded of the verse “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!“ (James 5:9).
OUCH! Talk about my toes being stepped on.
That really convicted me, so sore toes and all, I began to include her in my daily prayers. It wasn’t easy because it wasn’t something I really wanted to do. But I knew God wanted me to and obeying Him was important to me. So I prayed God would make Himself known to her in special ways. And then I asked Him to change my attitude and actions toward her. I really had not been a good example of what Christianity is all about. That had to change. I had to change.
As time passed, I no longer saw her as unlovable. She and I started to have some nice conversations with each other. She shared her frustrations and even things she was happy about, which she had never really done before. And I did the same. I learned she had things going on in her life that sometimes caused her to put up walls and throw out words that were meant to keep people away, like a porcupine’s quills. She had some hurts, just like I did. Suddenly being around her didn’t make me raw anymore.
A Person’s a Person… No Matter How Rough!
Difficult people have a story too. We may never be the best of friends with them but God has them in our lives for a reason. Whether we ever discover that reason or not, we are called to love one another. How do we do that with a sandpaper person?
3 Simple Things to Overcome Irritation:
1. Start praying for yourself and for them. Ask God to check your heart for wrong attitudes and sinful thoughts toward them.
2. Really begin to look for opportunities to say a kind word, make a nice gesture or engage in a conversation where you can genuinely begin to get to know them.
3. Find a way to share your own stories with them. You might have something to say that will help them. Surprisingly, sometimes you may find they have something to say that will help you. Or maybe you’ll just begin to like each other. That’s cool too.
Connecting with our sandpaper person doesn’t have to be hard. Those three steps give us a way to show agape love, simply and genuinely.
And in the end, love wins and we win.
Have something to share? Please leave a comment below. I’d also love to connect with you at: www.mariettataylor.net)