I know exactly how to get certain types of responses from people. I know what to say in order to get what I want from them. Usually it’s completely harmless. As simple as saying, “I’m having a bad day,” and hoping they ask me what happened. But there are those few people who deflect this, whether on purpose or not. And that hits me hard. First, I think that they don’t care about me whatsoever. Then, I start thinking about what they are saying with their silence.
And I realize that I am being manipulative.
Even if it’s about a small thing, it’s still being manipulative. I say certain things on purpose in order to get a certain response. And then when I don’t get the response I want, I think that this person doesn’t care. It took me a while to figure it out, and typing it just then helped solidify it in my mind. That is a very selfish attitude to have. It’s as if I think the entire world revolves around me–which I completely know that it DOES NOT. But seriously, how selfish is that? I’m actually kind of disgusted with myself.
Manipulation is something that I’ve struggled with for a while now. It wasn’t really pointed out by many people in my life for the longest time. The first time that I realized it, was when I was developing a relationship with a boy that was pretty much only over messaging. I would say certain things to him, expecting a certain response, and then he would respond totally differently than I anticipated. This actually intrigued me, and made me like him more. It was almost as if he could see my sin, and was very gently avoiding feeding it.
Another instance that I remember clearly, was when my boyfriend at the time looked right at me and said, “You’re so manipulative.” That was less subtle, to say the least, and it hurt. But it really made me think, and helped me be more cautious.
Since then, I have been accused of being manipulative by a few more people, and try to take it very seriously. It hurts, sure. But; “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (Proverbs 27:6)
And now that I’ve experienced a heavy and deep amount of grief, I’m definitely in danger of overusing people’s grace, kindness and love. I’m far more susceptible to being emotional, moody, annoyed, selfish and manipulative.
Even this post has been selfish, as I’ve mentioned myself, or said the word “I” way too many times.
If you’ve been a victim of any of these sins, I am deeply sorry. I’m still learning how to rein them in. And, I’m also still learning how to interpret what people say correctly, and even interpret their silence. Silence is honestly sometimes the very best thing.
“When words are many, sin is not absent.” (Proverbs 10:19)
All of these next things are huge learning curves. And the Lord is so good to point out certain sin patterns.
Also, if anyone has ever wondered why I am so very blunt and honest, it mostly has to do with the fact that I am valiantly trying to avoid being manipulative. That still needs to be tempered, so I also apologize if you’ve ever been a victim of my brutal honesty.
One more thing. There’s is a lot of growing to be done, in me and in you. I will say this though. Don’t change for people. But wait, I’m not one of those people who promotes being satisfied with yourself no matter what. Sure, do not scorn what Christ has done in your life, or how he has made you.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
But, do not be satisfied with yourself. Don’t change to suit another human being. ONLY change to suit Christ, because he is the only one whose opinion really matters–no offense.
That is why I want to change and be better. I do, indeed want to avoid hurting the feelings of others, but in order to honor the Lord and bring him glory, not to be accepted by man. And honestly, the true friends who understand that, and understand that Christ is more important, will stick nearby as they too grow closer to Christ. And it just might be one of those friends that points out a huge sin in your life that needs to be addressed. They don’t hate you. They don’t think you’re horrible–even though we all are. Sometimes, they aren’t even doing it on purpose. Praise God for these friends.
So, I will strive to be straight forward rather than manipulative. And beyond that, I will strive to be kind rather than brutally honest.
I’m definitely not perfect, but do not be afraid to hold me to the perfect standard of Christ. I will never fully measure up this side of heaven, but I can always aim for improvement.