Control and manipulation. Two words often used together, but still very different, why? Because control is socially acceptable and manipulation isn’t. If you ask people whether control is ok most of the time they will say yes, if you ask them if manipulation is okay it’s pretty obvious they will say no.
This is because it’s seen as okay to want to control your environment, saying that you’re a control freak isn’t seen as weird or wrong. But control can turn ugly, very quickly. We start off controlling our food, what we what we wear, how we interact with people and soon it turns into controlling our plans including other people, and if they don’t do what you want them to do, they don’t follow your carefully decided plan what is the answer?
I see two forms of manipulation. The first type is when an individual wants something from someone. They go into relationships or friendships with a purpose, for a reason. To get good grades, to feel a certain way, because without that person they feel as if they are seriously missing out.
You may be thinking that there is nothing wrong with that, that friendships do sometimes serve a purpose.
But what of it wasn’t like that, what if two people went into a friendship with the same goal, with a mutual love and appreciation that goes deeper than what football team you like or what course you study at uni. What if there was a way to get from self focused relationships to enter serving relationships.
Well, I have (and millions before) found a way. It involves a relationship with a perfect man, with a man who will never do you wrong, and all of your desires and needs will be met solely in him. This means you can enter into relationships with other people loving them for who God made them to be. Loving them and enjoying the friendship because you don’t need anything from them, because all of your needs are met in Christ.
This brings me to the second form of manipulation. Needing to be needed. This on the surface may not seem like manipulation. After all liking to help people is good right? And yes it is, but if you are helping them because you want the glory for yourself you aren’t doing it with the goal of Christ in mind. This means that when it gets hard and messy you will leave the person to fend for themselves because they are no longer satisfying your own need for glory and recognition.
This is why it is so important to be servant hearted but also we need to know our hearts. We need to know that we have nothing to prove, God loves you more than you will ever know (Ephesians 4), and being there for another will not make him love you any more than he already does. This truth brings freedom, because knowing who you are in Christ means that you don’t need to gain your worth from others, you are free to live as Christ wants you to live and you are free to love others authentically.