When having a conversation, it’s easy to sniff out which of the two you’re engaging. One seeks to be right. The other persuades one to think rightly. Our focus tends to drift toward becoming winners rather than winsome.
Winners don’t want to talk. They want to tell. And, unless we happen to share their soapbox, we don’t care to listen. A lot gets said, but little changes.
Winsome people, on the other hand, have a way of thinking rightly and helping others to do the same. These people shape culture and change the world. It’s not because they are better communicators. Winsomeness is not the same as eloquence. Instead, it’s a matter of the heart.
Words reveal our heart. Each one, however articulate it may be, separates the winners from the winsome. I’ve found it helps to check my heart often to see which one I’m becoming.
There are three qualities that define the winsome:
This is not the same as confidence. It’s easy to fake confidence. Be aggressive or loud or demeaning. Don’t budge an inch and people can justify it as “confidence.” Security speaks in softer tones. There’s no battle to prove her intelligence (partly because she doesn’t claim to know everything). Hurl all the questions or criticism you want. Security knows that, if what she believes is true, it can withstand them.
Ideas change the world. As a pastor who is convinced that the Gospel of Jesus has the power to save, I am passionate about truth. But it is never to be divorced from love. Paul told the church that, even if they had a martyr’s passion, it is useless without love (1 Corinthians 13:3). Before every conversation, comment or tweet, we should ask ourselves, “Is what I’m about to say coming out of love?” If you’re unsure, read 1 Corinthians 13 or John 15. Both are helpful passages on how to love people well. Loving people are winsome people.
It requires humility, patience, and hard work to learn. This sort of wisdom is described in Scripture as “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Winsome people are able to simplify or expound upon their worldview appropriately. Because they are diligent to learn, they can give clear and respectful answers for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).
You will never be able to win everyone. That’s why the Apostle Paul said he became “all things to all people” in order to win some (1 Corinthians 9:22). That’s the essence of winsomeness. Doing whatever possible to help others think rightly.
This world has enough winners. So, stand secure. Love people like Christ. Stay teachable.
In other words, be winsome.