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What do you do with someone you are talking with who is set on winning and wanting to see their opponents suffer or lose?

You have a few options.  You could let them win.  But it’s the wanting to see their opponents suffer or lose that seems troubling doesn’t it?

It’s not so much the winning that’s the problem.  It’s the part where a person wants to see their opponents suffer that is.

Maybe we could classify this as wrath, or pride, or even envy.  Regardless, it’s not pleasant.  And from my experience in dealing with people who are consumed with this, there is no satisfying them.  Even if every one of their opponents lost or were suffering, they would never be satisfied – they would want something worse for their opponents.

So how do you deal with someone like this?

I think you change the game.  You change the situation from a win/lose situation.  You change it to something completely different.  You change it to a humanity situation.  People who are consumed by winning don’t see their opponents/enemies/competitors as people.  They are concerning with being right, having the right thoughts and beliefs, getting the right laws and policies implemented, etc.  It’s not about people.  It’s about orthodoxy in an ugly form.

A week or two ago I wrote that I don’t think we are capable of changing other people’s minds.  I still believe that.  However, if you want to actually connect with someone and a possibility of seeing any change at all – touch their heart.  That’s where it starts.  The head will follow.  That’s where the rational arguments can come in.

What do you do with a person who is hell bent on seeing an opponent destroyed and suffering?  Show them the reality of the suffering in a way that touches them personally.  Make it go from abstract to a specific, real life example of someone they know and care about.  Make them look at the result of the suffering with their own eyes – examples of actual people who are suffering.

But be careful.  Too many times these stories get twisted and used for other purposes – usually by political parties to push their own version of being right on their opponents.  In other words, they are using suffering people as pawns.  Those who do this don’t see the people who are suffering as people either.  They are just pawns in a big chess game.

Another option of how to deal with someone hell bent on seeing an opponent suffer and lose – prayer.  Pray that they may find peace within, pray that they may see the people they oppose as people, pray that they may experience forgiveness and mercy.

Lastly, walk away.  Even Jesus gave his disciples instructions to wipe the dust off of their feet to people who would not welcome them in.  It’s a reality that not everyone will want to change, will want to stop fighting, will want to end division.  But how others react and respond is not our concern.  What we do is.