A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 1102). Kindle Edition.
Manipulation has at its core a desire to change situations and people for the manipulator’s good. It is a self-centered act. That is why when I know someone is striving to manipulate me and they say it is for my good that it isn’t. The act of manipulation is for the good of the one manipulating not the one being manipulated.
The Bible tells us that the person who doesn’t have God in their life is a selfish being. David in the Psalms said that in sin did my mother conceive me. We came into this world living for ourselves and striving to manipulate the world to take care of us and to do what we want.
Have you noticed how a baby when it is hungry does all it can to manipulate you to feed them. They do not stop and think of how it might not be the best time for you, they are hungry and they want it now. And that carries over into adolescence and into adulthood.
Now we might refine it as adults but at the core we are selfish unless we have allowed God through His Spirit to indwell in our life. God is at His core a selfless being. Everything that He does for us is for us. We may not think it but over time you will see that it is true.
Now the key is I cannot have that kind of selfless love without God in my life. It is impossible. A Christ follower at his core is different. If God through His Spirit is at the center of your life then you react in a different way from someone who doesn’t have Him. They are selfish and you at your core are selfless. They can’t help it but you live for God and for others.
A person in a marriage who doesn’t have God’s Spirit in their life can’t help being a manipulator. They can’t help it. They will strive to meet your needs, to take care of your wants but they are doing it to get you to take care of their wants and their needs. They can’t help it. But one who has God’s Spirit at the center of their life lives at their core to minister to their partner’s needs more than their own. God’s love flows out of that person to meet the needs of their partner no matter what they do for them.
Christ followers are not to be manipulators but influencers and ministers. Now we are not perfect and that selfishness gets in their sometimes. That is not when we are at our best but at our worst. As we see our selfishness come out we stop and ask for God’s forgiveness and then ask for His love to live through us.
How do you get that kind of love? You just ask Him for it. He wants to come into your life and set the direction of your life toward Him and toward others and not for your self. That is the way He created us to be but self got in the way.
So are you a manipulator or a minister?