Sandpaper People
Micca Monda Campbell

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1John 4:11 (NKJ)

Have you ever encountered a “sandpaper person?” You know, someone that rubs you the wrong way. Most of us want to run and hide from sandpaper people. Sometimes we escape them, but not for long. Eventually, we will run head-on into another one. Why? Because God is doing some of His best work in us when He places sandpaper people in our lives.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to love a sandpaper person? They’re usually arrogant, mean, rude and selfish. They like to demand their own way and boast in their accomplishments. Yet, God has called us to love all people—not just the lovable, but the unlovable as well. The Bible says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

You may be thinking that’s impossible. You’re right; in our own strength we can’t love the unlovely. Yet, God’s love is different than ours. We express love according to how we feel. When a friend is caring and helpful, we feel loved and then we express love back. We call that kind of love—“friendship love.” When being close to our spouse gives us a warm fuzzy feeling, we call that—“being in love.” However, if we love only according to our feelings, then we will never learn to love the unlovable, because the one thing we don’t feel around a sandpaper person is—love.

While most love according to their feelings, God’s love is more of a response of the will. Examine 1 Corinthians 13:4 as it explains how biblical love responds:

Love is patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love doesn’t demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad over injustice, but rejoices when truth wins out. If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You’ll believe in him and always expect the best of him, while defending him. (NKJ)

That is how God loves us. No matter how mean or selfish we are, or how many times we settle for our own way of doing things instead of His way—God still has the capacity to love us. When we truly realize how God, by His mercy, has loved us to the end of our meanness, selfishness and pride, then no matter how heartless another person may be, we can chose to respond to them in a loving way also.

We respond to all people with love when we choose to see them as a valuable person created by and in the image of God. Love is not a feeling; it’s a choice. It’s a choice that leads to lovely responses toward others.

So how is God teaching us to respond with His kind of love? You guessed it—by not “losing it” with the sandpaper people in our lives. When we respond to the meanest person we know with the loving kindness of God, then God has done one of His best works in us. He’s taught us how to love as He loves!

Dear Lord, thank you for loving me not because I’m lovable, but because You are love. Help me to love the unlovable in my life the way You have loved me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Sandpaper People: Dealing with the Ones Who Rub You the Wrong Way by Mary Southerland

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue by Deborah Smith Pegues

Micca Campbell’s Testimony on DVD

Do you know Him?

Application Steps:
Stop running from sandpaper people. Instead, pray for God to bless them and give you opportunities to show them love. God will begin to change your heart toward them and a lovely relationship will begin to bloom.

Who is that sandpaper person God wants to use in your life to teach you how to love?

Does your love for others match God’s example of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4?

Will you allow God to do a good work in you by loving your sandpaper person, simply because He has loved you?

Power Verses:
1 Peter 1:22, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV)

1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (NIV)

John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (NKJ)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been so helpful in all that I deal with at work.
Thank God for the person who posted it and also thank God for reminding me just who I am.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has been a sandpaper person lately. I had been convicted this week of needing to pray that God would supply a dose of His love since I just couldn't muster much of my own for him. Then I read this devotion. It really helped me know that the love I Cor. describes is not what I feel and show and I need God to supply it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your devotions always keep me on track. Especially this one showed me how to handle my "Sandpaper People" in my life...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devotional. It reminds me that love is a choice that God helps me to make. My husband has continuing back pain and that makes him irritable and sandpaper to me at times so this was a great help to me today. I thank the Lord for prompting you to write it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God woke me up in the middle of the night with conviction of how I spoke of another person. After sending an apology to the people I said it to, I read this devotion which directed me again to the person I said it about. I have failed the "sandpaper" test, but I'm thankful God gives us second chances. I definitely need to get back to God's word for my life.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, I needed this today

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is so Good to us and He loves me beyond what i can understand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.Thanks for sharing the wonderful news that God's love covers all of us.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a Google search on "how to love the unlovable" and found this article..Boyyyyy did I need it today!!! I have a sick relative who has always been a "sandpaper person" to a majority of her family as well as me..I stayed in the hospital with her overnight and I prayed and prayed asking God to HELP me love and be patient and kind.He did help me to remain calm and supportive.This is a new concept for me b/c for so long I have avoided this relative.This article was very helpful.. I guess it showed me what I already knew in my heart. We have to love the lovable as well as the unlovable..He is testing me now, but I'll pass with His help :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please pray for me that I would "realize how God, by His mercy, has loved me to the end of my meanness, selfishness and pride" so that no matter how heartless the sandpaper person in my life is (which is MULTIPLE times EACH day!), I can chose to respond to them in a loving way. Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My oh my, this is just what I needed. No matter if I encounter sandpaper people in my life, at least now I will have a new outlook on them. Thanks so much for the insight.

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