“If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels,
But do not have love,
I am a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal.”

I Corinthians 13.1

“You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

Old Saying

“Do I not destroy my enemies
When I make them my friends?”

Abraham Lincoln

When faced with someone who holds different opinions, which is more effective in the long run:

 1. Destroy their life; threaten them; intimidate them into silence or compliance.
 2. Meet them where they are; find points of agreement; share viewpoints and try to persuade them to your side.

Many would say that #1 is far more gratifying. It is fun to get angry; it is fun to feel that you are right and everyone else is wrong. It is also simpler because it requires little or no thought; all the good people are on one side; all the evil people are on the other. Anger gives a person a sense of power; there is an emotional pay-off; getting all worked up gives them the sense that they are ready to lead the charge. Self-righteous anger provides all the power of anger plus the belief that they are the sole inhabitant of the moral high ground.

As gratifying as this may be for the irate, such methods inevitably create resistance. People hate being threatened; they loathe being talked down to. They will look for ways not to agree with people who employ such methods, even if they find some value in the points being addressed.

On the other hand seeing the goodness in others is always the best place to begin. It is the right thing to do because everyone is responsible for upholding human dignity. Jesus is the Savior of all people, not just a few here or there, not just those we agree with. Kindness counts. Consideration is crucial. Everyone wants respect; everyone deserves respect.

Even if one sets aside such spiritually grounded principles, (which I do not recommend) from a purely tactical standpoint trying to persuade people to your views is more effective. It might work; they may begin to see things your way. Dialing down the animosity provides an opportunity to reach a consensus. Even if they never come around, you have not driven them away, or increased their animosity. Instead, you have made a connection on a human level. Everyone benefits from that.