How can I recognize manipulation in myself and in others? - Manipulation - TouchPoints

How can I recognize manipulation in myself and in others?

2 Corinthians 12:16-19Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But they still think I was sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery. But how? Did any of the men I sent to you take advantage of you? When I urged Titus to visit you and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No, of course not . . . Everything we do, dear friends, is for your benefit.

Taking advantage of others for our own benefit is manipulation. A manipulator tries to gain things at others’ expense.

Proverbs 12:20Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!

Jeremiah 9:5They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning.

1 John 4:6But we belong to God; that is why those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

Deceiving someone to get what we want or to make ourselves look good is manipulation. If we find ourselves twisting the truth to get what we want, we are probably being manipulative.

Amos 5:11You trample the poor and steal what little they have through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, you will never live in the beautiful stone houses you are building. You will never drink wine from the lush vineyards you are planting.

Amos 8:5-6You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals.

Cheating is often a form of manipulation. It is a plan to take something we don’t deserve because we feel entitled to it. It changes the landscape of fairness.

Mark 12:40But they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property, and then, to cover up the kind of people they really are, they make long prayers in public. Because of this, their punishment will be the greater.

Hypocrisy —when what we say doesn’t match what we do – is a form of manipulation. We pretend to be a better person than we really are in order to get something we want. If we need to put on a façade for others, chances are we are being manipulative.

Nehemiah 6:9, 14, 19They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could break our resolve and stop the work. So I prayed for strength to continue the work . . . Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me . . . They kept telling me what a wonderful man Tobiah was, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah sent many threatening letters to intimidate me.

Intimidation is a form of manipulation. When the manipulator can’t entice, he may try to intimidate or pressure you into submission.

Galatians 4:17Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them.

Isolation is often a form of manipulation. We should cautious when someone tries to isolate us from Christian influence. Whether it is an intentional attempt to manipulate us or not, it can have a dangerous impact on our faith.

Judges 14:15-17Samson’s wife came to him in tears and said, “You don’t love me; you hate me! You have given my people a riddle, but you haven’t told me the answer.” “I haven’t even given the answer to my father or mother,” he replied. “Why should I tell you?” So she cried whenever she was with him and kept it up for the rest of the celebration. At last, on the seventh day, he told her the answer because of her persistent nagging. Then she gave the answer to the young men.

Emotional pressure, nagging, and guilt are often used to manipulate. If we use these weapons, we are guilty of manipulation. Instead of these, self-control, encouragement, and forgiveness should be our tools for building relationships.

Romans 16:18Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.

Proverbs 7:21So she seduced him with her pretty speech. With her flattery she enticed him.

Jude 1:16These people are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loudmouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favors in return.

1 Thessalonians 2:5Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you very well know. And God is our witness that we were not just pretending to be your friends so you would give us money!

Psalm 12:2Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and insincere hearts.

Flattery is often used to manipulate. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sincere compliment and a false one. This is why we tend to be so vulnerable to flattery disguised as compliments.

Daniel 6:5-7So they concluded, "Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion." [6] So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, "Long live King Darius! [7] We are all in agreement-we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors-that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human-except to you, Your Majesty-will be thrown into the den of lions.

Pride makes us particularly susceptible to flattery. King Darius was manipulated into endangering his most trusted advisor, Daniel, because of his pride.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Proverbs 27:6

Proverbs 28:23

Love and truth form the difference between flattery and encouragement. Encouragement finds the good in others and inspires them to greater good. Flattery says what makes others happy with us—not necessarily what is true. It is better to inspire a friend with hard truths than leave them lost with gentle lies.

Proverbs 21:14A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury.

Exodus 23:8"Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth.

Proverbs 15:27Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.

Bribery is a dangerous form of manipulation, because it seems well-intentioned. Sometimes, to avoid an awkward rejection of a gift, we simply take it. But gifts and other benefits tap into our natural and good desire to respond in kind—which tilts our judgment at a deep yet subtle level.

Matthew 7:15“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart.

Jude 1:8Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones.

Galatians 1:7that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.

False prophets and false teachers are manipulators. They pretend to have good news for us, but they are really seeking to take from us.