Sandpaper and Stones

A sweet Christian woman posted this on her facebook.  It is yet another example of the Christian belief that suffering makes you more noble.  Suffering is the path to perfection.  Not all Christians believe this, and some who aren’t do.  It enables abuse by allowing the victim to see themselves as victorious just by taking abuse.   Who benefits from this lie?

My guess is that most of the sandpaper people would be horrified to learn the damage they are doing.  But, don’t tell them.  Just secretly loath them and encourage the abuse.

When people hurt you over
and over,
Think of them as sandpaper.
They scratch and hurt you.
But in the end,
You are polished,
And they are useless.


I wanted to reply – this only works if you are a stone!  Otherwise, they just wear you away to bloody shreds and don’t even know it.

Of course, I know there are too many people in her life that are sandpaper to her.  I just hope I am not one of them, because I doubt she would tell me if I hurt her.

6 thoughts on “Sandpaper and Stones

  1. Ahab says:

    I’ve heard several people of faith (mostly but not just Christians) claim that suffering leads to spiritual growth, but it never made any sense to me. I’ve never seen anyone grow spiritually from suffering, and I never derived any spiritual insight from my own suffering. Maybe some kind of cognitive dissonance is going on when people wax poetic about the spiritual benefits of suffering?

    Meaningless suffering siphons the joy and vitality out of one’s life. If it’s severe enough or ongoing enough, it can permanently traumatize someone. Sometimes MEANINGFUL suffering can build character, but it can also traumatize as well.

  2. I believe that this is a prime tenet of the Orthodox faith. Kept the serfs from murdering the aristocracy…until 1917.
    My mother endured the sandpaper and got the advice you write about. Whether she believed it or not, she publicly did her duty, though perhaps her choices were very limited. My sister wants to be just like her. As I have said before, I cannot think of any woman I would want my daughters to be less like. In that respect.

  3. This post is very thought-provoking. I grew up with this teaching also in my (former) Mormon faith.

    You just gave me another epiphany and I agree with your take, prairie nymph. This sandpaper-stone analogy enables abusers and renders the abused powerless. It makes tolerating abuse a “virtue”; and more often than not, the abusers are so-called spiritual leaders whose primary goal is to keep the flock submissive and subdued.

    What has actually made me a stronger person is *overcoming* the suffering and abuse, setting boundaries and defining acceptable relationships, basically kicking the sandpaper-types to the curb.

    Nice post.

  4. prairienymph says:

    Another trick is to label people who refuse to be scratched at their whole lives as “selfish”. Sticking up for yourself, or any vulnerable person already born, is a vice.

    I got an email from someone who took issue with Blog Fodder’s facebook post (of one of Ahab’s articles) about birth control reducing abortion. This angered individual wrote that statistics showing that the Netherlands had lower abortion rates were always blaming Christians for everything. She also wrote that the non-fundy view was self-centered.
    I forgot it is self-centered of these people to reduce abortion rates in healthy ways.

    Incidentally Blog Fodder, it was your sandpapery father who was quick to tell me how suffering makes people better. I never heard your mother say anything about it.

  5. Lorena says:

    You know what’s interesting about cheap philosophy like the sweet Christian’s post?

    That because of the play on words and the subtle rhyme, it actually sounds like a great thought at first sight.

    I have fallen many times for neat sounding phrases that are in essence trash. Christians are so easy to full with colourful, wise sounding language–most people are, actually.

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