American politics. Two ideologies fighting for dominance. Both sides believe their positions are 100% right and the other sides positions are 100% wrong.
Both sides also have those who promote the parties positions by mocking, name-calling, hurling insults, and using illogical arguments and untrue propaganda.
(If you don’t know what I mean, go to any Facebook group where people of the same political viewpoint congregate, and read the comments. Pay close attention to the way people treat somebody who disagrees with the common sentiment of the thread.)
This type of behavior will never convince anybody of anything.
Rather, the result is people get angry and become more entrenched in their ideology than ever before, refusing to listen to your point of view.
The Bible tells us of a different way to persuade people and win arguments. A much more effective way.
Paul in 2 Timothy 2:24-25 says – “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.”
Of course, in context, this verse has nothing to do with politics (Paul is telling Timothy to avoid foolish religious arguments because they produce quarrels. He’s also telling Timothy how to correct people who are dogmatic and argumentative about foolish religious things, with the hope of possibly persuading them of their errors).
But the principles of persuasion found in this verse can be applied to politics, as well as any area of our lives that require convincing somebody to do or believe something.
So if you are really interested in swaying people to your political opinion – which if you believe it’s right and good for the country, you should be – then you must apply the great principles of persuasions found in this verse.
If you want to be persuasive –
1. You can’t be quarrelsome. You can’t allow a conversation to degrade into an argument. When a conversation degrades into an argument both sides stop listening to each other.
2. You have to be kind. People will be much more ready to hear you out, if you are kind and loving towards them.
3. You need to be able to teach. You do this by presenting logical arguments, based on facts, that show people the truth of what you are saying.
4. You need to patiently endure evil. You can’t let the insults and mocking from others get to you. If you do, your mind won’t be focused and you won’t be able to respond intelligently to their arguments. Anger will control you, and the conversation will slip into a quarrel.
5. You need to correct people with gentleness. This is a very important part in the persuasion process. If you belittle a person’s opinion in a rude and unkind way, you can be 99% sure that they will never come to see things your way.
I used politics in this post not because I’m necessarily interested in getting people to persuade others to accept their political ideologies, but because the current American political climate is a fantastic illustration of people doing the opposite of 2 Timothy 2: 24-25 and the ineffectiveness of it. And by seeing ineffectiveness of the unbiblical way to persuade, we hopefully will realize the wisdom of God’s way. And then we will be much more persuasive in every area of our lives.
So if we, as Christians, want to be good persuaders, we must let 2 Timothy 2:24-25 become part of our character and mindset.
We must kindly present others with logical arguments and control our anger if others hurl insults at us, and gentle correct errors in their thinking.
Try these principles out today. You will see that people are much more responsive to your point of view.
All the best,