Today’s post is the second in the series of transforming your relationships with the sandpaper people in your life. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it to learn about sandpaper people. The first step to transforming your relationships is to change your viewpoint and get a godly perspective.
1 Samuel 16:7
…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
We tend to judge people based on what we see, but the Lord doesn’t. He looks into a person’s heart. Think about the sandpaper person in your life you want to have a better relationship with, have you judged them based on what you have seen? I know for myself, when I see that person, inwardly my eyes roll and I sigh at the thought of having to interact with them at all. I expect the interaction to not go well based on past experiences. Aren’t we lucky God doesn’t do that with us! He doesn’t look at us and roll His eyes because of what we have said or done in the past.
We dread interacting with the sandpaper people in our lives in part because we think we know why they act the way the do. We assume they are mean, don’t like us, are self-centered or just try to get under our skin. However, we are judging them based on only a small picture of who they are. Here’s an example many of you can probably relate to. When you are driving and someone cuts you off, you get irritated and assume they are a jerk – that is your perspective. God, on the other hand who doesn’t have our limited perspective of just a few moments of interaction, sees something completely different. He sees a woman who is rushing to get to the hospital because her child was just in an accident or a man who is rushing to get to the bedside of a dying parent. We judge people so quickly based on so little information.
I know some of you are thinking to yourselves that you know your sandpaper people better than that and have a broader perspective. But do you have the complete picture that God does? Do you know everything they are going through right now, what they have been through in the past and what they will be facing in the future? That sandpaper person at the office, on the committee, at church or even in your own family may be facing situations that you are not aware of. They may be dealing with health or financial issues, struggling in their marriage, dealing with a wayward child, caring for an elderly parent, suffering abuse, struggling with an addiction or a host of many other issues that is impossible for you to know. Maybe if we could try to see people from God’s perspective, we would change the way we feel about them which would in turn change the way we treat them.
1 Chronicles 28:9
…for the Lord searches every heart and understand every motive behind the thoughts.
Seek the Lord and ask Him to help you see that sandpaper person from His perspective. You may not receive insight into what they are going through, but you can see them as a child of God who is worthy of His love and ours, who is lavished by His grace and who we should lavish with the grace He has given us. Try viewing that person with the same love, respect and kindness you do with someone you cherish in your life and see if your heart isn’t softened, your words aren’t kinder and your attitude more positive.