Are you ministering, or are you manipulating? I’m sure that wanting to resort to manipulation has always been an issue that people have in general, it is demonstrated throughout history. I don’t think enough people talk about how it happens inside of a church.
I don’t mean talking with a mouth full of hate, sputtering and screaming until someone makes us feel validated. I mean speaking calmly, for the purpose of education. We need to teach those who are contemplating entering the ministry, about how this method of manipulation is not real leadership. Quite frankly, it’s the biblical definition of witchcraft.
When Jehu confronted Joram, Jehoram and Ahaziah in the portion of Naboth, what was it that he said about their mother Jezebel? He said there “would be no peace, because of her whordoms and her witchcraft.” (The only guy in the Bible who could call a guys mom a dirty name and make him run away!)
But this is the point; Jehu pointed out that what Jezebel had done, regarding Naboth, was witchcraft.
So what did she do?
Ahab, her husband, pouted because Naboth would not sell his property to him. Naboth had something that Ahab wanted and he wouldn’t give it up. Like a child, Ahab stopped eating and threw a fit and went crying to his lady. When he told his wife what happened Jezebel told him not to worry, she would fix it. She manipulated things, pretended to be her husband and issued orders under his name that caused Naboth to wrongfully lose his life, leaving Ahab his land. She didn’t crank up the burner under the cauldron and start dropping frogs in, no! She started manipulating. (1 Kings 21, 2 Kings 9)
Manipulation is witchcraft. It is rebellion against God, and his control over all situations. If you trust God, why go there? Can’t we just pray?
Now, we already understand that people who do not have correction, do not have direction, and everyone needs to be redirected sometimes, but when we try to force obedience or force openness from someone without being in a position of justice, to punish them for disobedience or we haven’t ingratiated ourselves enough for them to welcome our criticism, we are putting ourselves into a situation where our advice will be rejected.
If we do try to correct someone, and they will not receive it, we need to consider other things, like it’s just not your business to be involved in, or that your teaching tactics make them feel judged. Both of those are valid reasons to ignore someones advice. What does Jesus tell us to do when people wont accept our word? Shake the dust off our feet. There is no way that we can manipulate people into doing what we think is the right thing if they don’t want to. We can’t trick them into coming to church, or reading their Bible, or praying. We can’t orchestrate events in their lives to change their character. Sometimes we have to let people do what they want, and trust that there is someone greater than us, who’s a better teacher than we could ever be. Your manipulation cannot be a better resource for their growth than God’s love!
You have to let it go when you can’t control other people. The repercussions from not shaking the dust off our feet compounds and leads to bitterness. If we let that dust cake up on the soul of our feet, it will make us miserable. When we allow that dust to cake up, we are much more likely to cross over to manipulating others.
By allowing manipulation to become the normal way we handle people on a day to day basis, we are letting everyone around us know that we are not washing our feet in the water of the Word. We are not letting go of grudges. We are not reading. We are not praying or forgiving others. How can anyone want to do the right thing, if we wont even do it ourselves?