How to influence opponents and win friends

 “Never can true reconcilement grow where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.” John Milton “Paradise Lost”

Actual event: I was at an executive meeting when one member attacked me in anger. I “should have” done something differently. I could see his vested interest, as he could have played a role in the other way of doing it.

I did not reply in kind, but in a calm manner pointing out that, “Yes”, his suggestion had merit. In future we could do it following his prescripts. Situation diffused. Friendship maintained. We are still working together on committee and when I can, I take his able leadership on a project.

It is harder to win people over on Facebook, where people do not want to lose face, especially on topics that generate heated disagreement like politics, religion, and sex. To some it is an “all or nothing” situation. 

If you oppose Gay Parades you are against love and tolerance of members of our society who are victimized and rightly deserve our respect and love. This all or nothing viewpoint can lead to the very prejudice all should be trying to eradicate.

Gay Parades have played a positive role in building a more tolerant society and gaining much needed recognition of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. That does not mean that as a society we are 100% in support of all aspects of Gay Parades.

I would be against Heterosexual Parades that used tactics like nudity and simulated sexual acts to shock us, no matter what the legitimate concerns their demonstrations might be promoting. I believe dialogue is a less inflammatory way of trying to reach accord.

The danger is in viciously condemning anyone who does not agree with us. Show no quarter? An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! If we follow that dictum we will be left with a bunch of blind and toothless people.

On Facebook, in particular, we find those who swing from the hip and are intolerant of anyone‘s opinion but their own. As someone who has recently been referred to on Facebook as “uneducated and misinformed” and a “redneck” by association, I have some suggestions in the interests of peace and love.

Avoid name calling like “Redneck”. Be open. Once you burn bridges, communication is difficult. Be compassionate.
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but? Let us be a little patient with each other. Not everyone sees the "whole truth" as we see it. We need to learn about each other's understanding of truth and to be patient and respectful about it. 

Some are too quick to condemn everyone else's view that doesn't line up 100% with theirs. To use an outlandish example, I cannot support Donald trump 100%, though I can support 100% some of the things he stands for. I roundly condemn some of his other points of view.

To relate to people who have different points of view from us, first, be peaceful. You may disagree, but God loves them too. Second, find common ground. Start a dialogue on what you have in common. Third, make positive connections. Reach out in love and look for ways your viewpoints align. 

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger … Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)  

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By Ken Rolheiser