A few days ago, I walked into work to discover that I was working with a co-worker I hadn’t shared a shift with before. I had talked to him enough to realize that he is a very nice man, so once we both got settled in, casual conversation began. He was very intrigued about my opinion, and so we talked for a while before he said,
“I haven’t felt alright since November. No offense if you voted for Trump.”
I pondered how to reply for a minute before saying,
“I didn’t vote for him, but I am a conservative.”
At this, he raised his eyebrows, absolutely intrigued as to why I personally did not vote for Donald Trump (I didn’t vote for Clinton either, in case you’re wondering). This led to a conversation where he asked me, very genuinely and kindly, for my perspective on things from the right. We talked about everything from DeVos’ confirmation to Trump’s executive orders to the push in California to secede (and he definitely laughed a joke I made about gun control). It was a great conversation.
As background, as I follow Christ, I try to have godly conversations. This means that I’m working to be truthful, loving, and kind. However, godliness doesn’t require a loss of rough-edged passion. I can be a very blunt person when it comes to politics; I have facts and data backing my arguments, and I remain confident that conservatism is the correct path. I’m not a jerk, I try my hardest not to be rude, and therefore, I’m content with what results.
However, as we were talking, my co-worker stopped, looked at me, and in wonder, asked,
“Why are you so nice? Like, people usually aren’t this nice.”
I told him it was because I wanted to reflect the joy of Christ and have a good conversation, but that question got me thinking. Honestly, the second he heard I was a conservative, I think that this uniquely open and inquisitive person thought that I was going to turn into a jerk while talking politics, or that I was going to shut the conversation down. I honestly think he was astonished when I had open dialogue without attacking him.
Thus, my challenge for you: Try being nice. It is so easy to get caught up in a political conversation where there are opinions you view as wrong and arguments that aren’t factual, but remember that passionate conversation can still happen without being a jerk. You’re much more persuasive when you’re being passionately KIND, than when you’re acting like a monster to just prove your point.
Try kindness. It’s easy, you’ll feel better about life, and you’ll prove your point so much more so.