Sandpaper People


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt,

so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6

We’ve all known a few of them in our lives...they are the people we normally try to avoid, and are relieved when they go away. Some of them are tied to us through family or work relationships, while we meet others only briefly; but they all have their impact. They’re the people who rub you the wrong way, frustrate you, test your patience, and make you groan and smack your forehead in disbelief that anyone could act, speak or think the way they do. Frequently, they leave you thinking, “I should’ve said…” but very few things you say in that confrontational moment will change them or their opinion.


If the truth were known, the more of them you have had in your life, the luckier – or more blessed – you have been. They make us better, softer, easier to be around. When we choose not to quickly respond in the same manner, but instead, pause to figure out a better, kinder way to relate and interact, we reflect the love of Jesus into their lives. After all, the only thing that separates you from them is your love…your willingness to give, to bend, and often at the expense of your own pride, to allow them to say what they have to say without a quick, sharp-witted retort from you. Biting your tongue may not be easy in the heat of the moment, and responding to their harsh comments with kindness will not feel authentic, but taking the high road might just have more of an impact on them than a harsh retort. The voice of calm reason will frequently dispel anger, and sometimes no answer at all will speak volumes.


Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.


While sandpaper knocks off the rough edges and smoothes a surface, a polishing cloth will buff that surface to a much higher gloss, bringing out the luster and natural beauty of the object it refines. The next time you are with a sandpaper person, try being a polishing cloth…soft and supple in the hands of your Master. Ask Him to speak through you, and remember, His Holy Spirit lives within you and hears every word you say.


Prayer: Father God, thank you for the refining work You are doing in my life every day, and for not giving up on me. Thank you for the sandpaper people You have brought into my life…even when it was uncomfortable. Although there were many times I struggled against the momentary discomfort, I can see now the benefits of Your refining influence that has brought me closer to You and has revealed Your Truth to me. Help me always to strive to be a soft and supple polishing cloth in Your hands, and above all, let the beauty of Your love, mercy, grace, peace and truth shine through my life in everything I think, say and do, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.” Psalm 64:3

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” Proverbs 17:8

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:20

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