Have you ever caught yourself manipulating situations to meet your own personal desire? Sometimes we fall into the manipulation trap without even knowing we’re doing it. Why do we do that and how can we stop?
It’s April and we still have snow on the ground. We not only have residual snow mounds on the ground but they are dirty as well. The snow is no longer that crisp, white, powdery stuff that makes you feel like you want to snuggle by a fire.
I had an idea. Yesterday it was warm enough to be outside so I went out with determination on my mind and shovel in my hands. I thought I’d go out there and shovel all of that nasty snow. I’d throw it into the driveway or street, then I would have green grass showing faster than anyone on the block. After trying to get a scoop or two, all that transpired was a sore back. The snow would not budge. It was solid ice. I was very frustrated; I wanted to see green grass.
Why do we try to manipulate situations? We manipulate situations because we don’t want to wait. We don’t want to take the necessary time to just “chill” while waiting on God’s next move for us. We manipulate people because we desire for them to be someone they just are not capable of being. Many of us don’t mean to, but it does happen. We must not manipulate, control or influence for our own advantage.
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “God instructed me.” or “the Lord has told me that…”
These phrases essentially shut down the conversation because they imply that, since God has spoken a word then there can’t possibly be any further discussion. Don’t be fooled by this trick; it is a form of spiritual manipulation.
I opened my Bible and began to read. I went to the familiar story of how Sarai manipulated Hagar and her husband, Abram,in Genesis chapter 16. She desperately desired to carry His child and didn’t want to wait. She told Abram to have sexual relations with Hagar, the servant. Talk about a huge manipulation.When Hagar became pregnant she flaunted it around Sarai. Sarai got jealous and said to Abram, “This is all your fault.” What a mess; all because Sarai wouldn’t wait on God. Been there? I know I have.
There have been times in my past where I have jumped into situations with both feet before even thinking about it or praying about it. During these ignorant times of attempting to manipulate a situation, I even tried to twist scripture for my own personal benefit. We should never manipulate scripture.
For example, an authoritarian husband might demand that his wife submit to him as the head of the house and quote Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your husbands.” But he may overlook verse 26 which instructs, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” We cannot take bits of scripture and manipulate them to what we desire. We need to read the whole text, meditate on it and see how God wants to apply it to our lives.
We can be guided by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit gives us a discerning mind to help us distinguish between right and wrong. If you find that you are in a situation and are twisting the facts or words of others, then you are heading down the manipulation road. Call upon His Spirit for help.
Pray for help. Ask God to help you during your situation but don’t even think about trying to manipulate God. Whey you pray you may be trying to sway his mind. Be honest and tell Him how you feel about what’s going on, but always allow his will to be done. Matthew 6:10 “Thy Kingdom Come; Thy Will Be Done.”
No matter how horrendous you might be suffering or how awful your situation is, see it for what it is. I looked at the heaping pile of yucky snow, feeling angry and disappointed. I didn’t want to look at it any more but I had to let it go. If I continued on my own manipulative destructive path I would have hurt my back even more.
It’s a very good thing that I didn’t proceed with my decision to shovel the yard because this morning we woke up to three inches of fresh white, crisp, beautiful, snow. It will melt in God’s timing and I’ll see the grass when its time for it to peak out, but until then, I will curl up by the fire and thank God for stopping me from shoveling the lawn.
So, are you going to go out and try to fix a situation for your own purpose? Are you in the middle of a dispute where you feel if you could “just get him/her to see it my way.” Manipulation is a very dangerous thing.
Lord, God, we come before you this day asking that we not manipulate any situation or any person. We trust You to make all things right in your perfect timing. Amen.