My father has a lot of interesting hobbies. One of those is collecting minerals and gemstones, many of them in their rough form. I saw some jagged purple and white striped stones in his collection and it surprised to learn it was amethyst.
In order to polish stones, the rough rocks – like jasper, agate, and amethyst – are placed inside a rock tumbler barrel. Then, you add course grit, which is harder than the rocks being tumbled, and water. As the rock tumbler turns, the grit and water rounds the sharp edges off the rocks. Then the rocks are tumbled with medium grit and finally fine grit. Each step means the edges of the rocks become smoother and smoother. This gives the rock a shiny surface and bright color.
The tumbling process transforms a rough stone into a beautiful specimen.
What brings out the best in us?
Have you met someone who is “rough around the edges”? This person can be described as “unsophisticated” or “unpolished.” They don’t always understand social cues or say the wrong things. While these individuals have some wonderful traits – like honesty, genuine curiosity, and a “take me as I am” attitude, it takes a lot of patience to deal with someone who is a bit rough.
Rough Around the Edges
A “rough” person that comes to mind is the pastor’s wife at a church I used to attend. (Let’s call her Sharon.) Sharon had lived a hard life and became a Christian when she was in her 40s. Sharon had a difficult start at the church because she didn’t understand her role as pastor’s wife. A gentle soul who played the piano on Sundays and cuddled fussy babies? Nope. She was often abrasive in church business meetings, had words with the parent of a reckless toddler, and cursed when she burned the coffee.
Over time, a transformation took place. Sharon grew in her spiritual life as she spent more time in the Word, fellowshipped with believers, and supported her husband. Sharon would listen carefully to others’ points of view before she disagreed with them. She wasn’t the most musically talented person, but she began singing with the choir.
The church congregation gradually changed, too. They were more patient with Sharon. Some of the older ladies were helpful in helping Sharon navigate her role.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Getting to know Sharon and seeing the changes in her has helped me understand Proverbs 27:17. The “rough” parts of our personalities will be at odds with others. We don’t get along with everyone, but we have to make accommodations.
Those folks you don’t necessarily see eye to eye with in your Sunday school class? Think about how you can grow by listening to their point of view. Those neighbors that get under your skin? Ask God to help you love them as He loves them.
Personal growth is rarely pleasant, but it can be more bearable when you think about how spiritual growth will benefit you in the long run.
[Featured image from Hobbits, Horses, and Handcrafts]