You can see it coming. The pending response of each man, woman, and child slowed on their journey by a driver who will not reach the speed limit on a bright and sunny day. The actions in the moments after one car clearly ducks in ahead of another for the last potential parking left on a crowded street. How a competitor reacts during a tight game when a referee makes a bad call and they lose.
I hate to be wronged, especially when it is deliberate or avoidable. I find my arguments flooding into my throat, anger filling every corner of my body, and muscles preparing for battle. It is unjust and unfair. The only appropriate answer is to respond, hold accountable, and deliver justice! I know I am right. But am I?
“It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights.” (Proverbs 20.3)
The English carry a resignation to most delays and difficulties. They whinge and whine; then they get out their book and wait patiently until the problem is resolved. It is as if they understand that once their complaint has been registered that there is little that can be done. They do talk about the “American” response; travel shows even encourage people to adopt this response if things go wrong; it seems that only way to get real action.
I am not sure either side has it right. Is the fact that I am going to be late the injustice that I need to take on? When a bank repeatedly fails to staff appropriately the question of continuing to do business when them rests solely in my court. Perhaps repeating one’s words is not the best response to passive resistance. Should I let another person control my reactions?
What is the biggest injustice in the world around me? Am I willing to take that on? Can I respond to injustice with mercy? Will I give unconditional acceptance with loving accountability? Will I muster the courage to model grace?
Every potential conflict is an opportunity to experience love.