As we learn from reading the Bible, Jesus was not shy about talking to people he disagreed with.
No matter how much he disagreed with the person he was debating, though, he ultimately always affirmed their existence as a child of God. It's a balance that is easier said than done!
If you are at all nervous about conversations around the dinner table, here are some tips:
When talking with someone whom you strongly disagree with:
1. Be mindful of your energy. This meaning your external and internal energy. Don't feel forced to engage in a way that doesn't align with your energy level.
2. Discern the importance of the relationship (if there is one.) This will help you determine if you should address it in a group setting or in private.
3. If someone says something outright unacceptable (where you feel compelled to respond) "I don't hear the truth in what you're saying" can be a good way to introduce a difference in perspective without being combative.
4. Another approach is to ask the person "Can you unpack that last statement/thought?" (Note: Important to check your face/posture if you choose to use this approach.) Typically if you listen to their perspective, they will listen to you when you respond.
5. Take a moment to discern who is being the difficult person in the room/conversation. Sometimes YOU are seen as the "difficult person". This particularly applies if you are the only person with your perspective (I.e. The only outspoken Democrat in the room.) This can be helpful to remember as you decide what language/terms to use.
6. Remember you have a choice to engage or not.