Girlfriends in God - August 9, 2011

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August 9, 2011
Sandpaper People on Wheels
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44, TNIV).

Friend To Friend
I am certainly not proud of the fact that I tend to have little or no patience with road hogs and seem to find ample opportunities for expressing my less-than-favorable opinion of the way they drive. I am working on my attitude and learning some lessons along the way.

We once lived in a small but rapidly growing town just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Because the town has outgrown its winding country roads, traffic from the city into our community was a daily nightmare. At one particular spot, a double lane narrows to a single lane. The change is clearly marked by several strategically placed signs and most people – the nice velvet people – pull into the single left lane long before the road narrows, knowing the right lane will soon merge with the left lane.

The sandpaper people, on the other hand, spot the merging lane signs and consider them an open invitation to speed ahead, worming their way into the long line of waiting cars. I consider it my personal responsibility to educate these road hogs in “The Ins and Outs of Traffic Courtesy According to Mary,” by refusing to let them barge in front of me and secure a spot in “my” line. I never make eye contact with these sandpaper drivers, thus denying their existence while inching along as close as possible to the car in front of me, determined to hold my ground.

One day, however, I met my match. I saw him coming but stood firm in my resolve to enforce my “don’t let ‘em in no matter what” rule. When he tried to pull in front of me, I ignored him. He honked. I feigned deafness. Finally, in one last-ditch effort to merge before his lane ended, the man rolled down his window and yelled, “Look!” I couldn’t help myself. He was holding up a napkin that read “Pleeeeeeeease!” I burst out laughing and motioned for him to pull in front of me. He applauded and danced a seated jig in celebration of his hard-earned place in line.

Life is like that – sandpaper people trying to capture our attention, ignoring the signs, breaking the relationship rules while barging into our lives. It takes a sense of humor to navigate the tumultuous waters of difficult relationships without capsizing. The secret of joy-filled relationships is to count on God’s strength instead of our own. Joy comes from a continual reliance upon Him to hammer down the mountains in our difficult relationships, making the path straight and pointing us in the right direction.

In Philippians 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” This passage can also be applied to having healthy relationships and could easily read, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every relationship by depending upon the power of God’s love at work. I can love anyone through Him who gives me strength.” As we learn to laugh more and cultivate our God-given sense of humor, patience and the ability to deal with the difficult relationships in life will flourish.

Let’s Pray
Father, I want to thank You for loving me even when I am so unlovable. Please teach me how to deal with difficult people in a way that pleases and honors You. I want others to see Your unconditional love at work in my relationships. Help me choose to forgive those who have hurt me and look for ways to find joy in the midst of it all.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

  • Write down the name of a sandpaper person in your life and list five reasons you consider that person to be abrasive.
  • Pray for that sandpaper person.
  • Thank God for bringing that abrasive person into your life. What do you believe God wants to accomplish through this difficult relationship? Are you willing to trust Him enough to praise Him for that person?

More From The Girlfriends
Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary’s E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study. Need help loving your sandpaper people? Check out Mary’s book, Sandpaper People. (Also available on CDand MP3 download

Be sure to check out Mary’s weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and still have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106
info@girlfriendsingod.com
www.girlfriendsingod.com

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

 
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