‘Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’ Romans 12:10 NLT
Deep within each of us is a desire to run our own lives and, in some cases, other people’s lives too. As a result we become experts at manipulating one another. This desire for control brings about different behaviours. Here are six of them you must be aware of and avoid if you want good relationships: (1) Emotional blackmail. ‘Do what I want or I’ll get angry and go to pieces.’ (2) The guilt trip. ‘How could you do this to me after I’ve done so much for you?’ (3) The eternal illness. ‘Don’t upset me. Can’t you see I’m not well?’ (4) Help from beyond the grave. ‘Your dear father would have agreed with me.’ (5) Divine revelation. ‘God told me you should do what I want.’ (6) Humiliation. ‘Do what I want or I’ll embarrass you in front of others.’ These are powerful tools we use to get others to do what we want. And not only are adults good at using them, teenagers can be masters of manipulation too, especially if they’re not thinking straight. ‘I want this thing so badly I’ll go and do something stupid (even if it hurts myself) if I don’t get it.’ An argument that becomes a dangerous cry for help is the worst nightmare of many parents of teenagers. Manipulation is a game any number can play—right in the privacy of our own home. But those who engage in it pay a high price in conflict, hostility, and resentment. What’s the answer? The Bible gives it to us: ‘Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.’
SoulFood: Dan 3–4, Luke 4:1–13, Ps 84, Prov 2:16–19
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021
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