Summary: This sermon looks at how best to deal with difficult people by seeing how we should not be difficult ourselves.
My wife used to work at a Wal-mart in Hattiesburg, MS in the jewelry department. Now many of you know Wal-mart’s policy, that the customer is always right. There may be the case on paper, and it may be great for the overall business of the company, but what do you do when a customer takes full advantage of this slogan and is an obnoxious idiot who has had a bad day and has decided she wants to take out all of her frustration out on you. Now, I must say, my wife was good at this (the working with the difficult customer not being one); when a person came in screaming and yelling, she was always kind and caring and most of the time, the situation calmed down and the customer walked away happy and content.
But Denise had a co-worker named Gretchen who lets just say didn’t exactly agree with this policy. If someone came in yelling, Gretchen yelled back. Instead of getting better, things got worse. The result was normally either the manager getting called in or Gretchen relaying to the person what time she got off work and to meet her in the parking lot for a little rumble. Now almost every time Gretchen got upset with a customer, she had reason to. Yet, because she was a Wal-mart employee she was not her own, because she wore the nametag and got the paycheck and the benefits of a Wal-Mart employee, she was supposed to behave differently and react differently.
Now there is no doubt in my mind that you have come across a difficult person a time or two in your life. Maybe it’s a co-worker who tries to boss everyone else around to make himself look important. Perhaps it’s a relative who is so opinionated that he must share them with you and tell you just how wrong you are. Maybe it’s a fellow church member who likes to gossip and start trouble, whatever the reason, you have someone in your life who is hard to get along with.
Now the question we want to look at this morning is how do we get along with those people. Now the natural reaction is to be difficult right back to them. When I was a teenager I worked at Burger King and one day a fellow worker of mine who just happened to be on our cross county rival’s wrestling team played a trick on me and fixed it to where when I turned on the water facet, water would spray all over me. It worked, I got wet and they all laughed. Now, let me state this was before I became a Christian, but the next day, before he came to work, I went to where he would be working and I unscrewed all the lids to the ketchup and mustard bottles and then put them on very lightly and placed them back to look like they had never been touched. When he got to work that afternoon, someone had ordered about 3 Whoppers and he reached and went to squirt the ketchup on the burger, and splat, the lid went off and ketchup went everywhere. SO he grabbed a new bun and the next bottle, and Splat! This went on for a while…you get the point. I felt justified in what I had done, and I thought it was funny to. But that is how we think it ought to be, right, you are difficult to me, I’m difficult to you. Your mean to me, I’m mean to you.