Conflict in the express lane…

In January I chose peace as my word of the year. I have come to realize that peace isn’t just the absence of conflict but more importantly, a result of handling conflict or at least the potential of conflict correctly.

 Pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another Romans 14:19 NASB

Recently, I needed to pick up few groceries. As I pulled my cart up to the express self-check out,  I saw a 50 something couple, the mother in law and two carts loaded FULL in front of me. The line was backing up behind me…

The store clerk walked over to the couple, Gladys and Mr. Gladys (obviously, not their real names) and reminded them that this was an express lane. Gladys had some not so nice words for the clerk and kept checking out their groceries. Then, as so often happens, the computer didn’t recognize an item scanned and it would not continue until a clerk had cleared the problem. The clerk, did not want to help Gladys, so she went to get another clerk. Of course all this time Gladys is complaining about not being helped…the second clerk comes, deals with the issue and walks away…

Another register becomes available so I begin to check out. But then just minutes later Gladys has another problem…The clerk sees the blinking light, knows there is a problem but will not even look at Gladys, but slowly goes to find the other clerk again. Gladys’ complaints are getting louder…I really wanted to stay and watch how it played out (well I REALLY wanted to say a few words to Gladys, but wisely did not).

As it is too often true in a conflict, Gladys could only see how she was not being treated as she thought she should be. The fact that she should not have used the express lane when she had carts FULL of food escaped her and the fact that she was rude to the clerk initially. No Gladys could only see what Gladys wanted and seemed to have unkind words to anyone who would get in her way. (I did notice “Mr. Gladys” waiting quietly as this all played out; I am guessing that he has had years of practice).

The clerk, was not willing to overlook Gladys’ behavior and give her the help she needed, at least not directly.

Consider this scene…what could have been done to prevent the conflict or stop it from escalating?

Think about a conflict you have experienced. What could you have done to prevent or at least minimize it? Do it! You will not be sorry! (You never know when someone might write about your bad behavior and call you Gladys.)

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:17, 18 NLT

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