Summary: Manipulation is a dishonest method to control others, get our way, or make others think an idea was theirs; it stands in contrast to making honest straightforward requests. Manipulation by guilt is perhaps the most common form of manipulation.
Manipulation by Guilt Vs. Straightforward Requests
1. A lot of persuasion — even in church — can be based upon emotion and a lack of logic.
“Pastor Smith was winding up his sermon about the dangers of alcohol and the need for temperance. He shouted, 'If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river.' With even greater emphasis he added, 'And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river.' Finally, he intoned in an extremely serious manner, 'And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river.'
The pastor sat down and the song leader arose. Let us sing our final hymn, number 437, 'Shall We Gather at the River.'”
2. Some people want to be manipulated, and seek out environments for this to happen. Most of us, however, prefer to be reasoned with, and we resent overt attempts to manipulate us.
3.It would be great if we could put extreme manipulators in their place:
“But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.” (Acts 13:9-11).
4. Yet we would not want to put all manipulators in their place. You see, it is not just false prophets who manipulate. It is that person in the mirror: difference is one of degree, frequency, and method.
5. We attempt to manipulate most of the time without realizing it. We learn patterns of communication from our families and friends. Some of us think we are making requests, generally a good thing. But we don’t know how to make requests or we are afraid to make direct requests, so we manipulate instead.
Main Idea: Manipulation is a dishonest method to control others, get our way, or make others think an idea was theirs; it stands in contrast to making honest straightforward requests. Manipulation by guilt is perhaps the most common form of manipulation.
I. Manipulation by GUILT
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:11-13
A. Real guilt and FALSE guilt
1. Real guilt needs forgiveness and restitution, as much as possible
2. False guilt needs a strengthened, tuned conscience via God's Word
3. People – and pastors, and esp. revivalists – can be masterful at manipulation via false guilt.
4. Some people actually want this; a good sermon is one that leaves them feeling guilty.
5. In the 1830’s, revivalist Charles Finney…minister confessed sinfulness…took ring off
6. But false guilt makes us a slave and harms our relationships.
7. Some people want their weekly scolding…
B. Taking Scripture out of context NURTURES false guilt and gives manipulators ammunition
I Corinthians 10:31-33 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
I Corinthians 14:26 is the rubric for what we do in a church meeting, not life in general:
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
C. Every choice does not need to be JUSTIFIED as spiritual or necessary.
1. I Timothy 6:17, “ As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
2. An athletic student at Moody kept talking about how bodily exercise profits a little and therefore it profits some and should therefore be a priority. He had to quit because of a bad football injury.
3. Ecclesiastes 9:9, “Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.”