The first post on “powerful words” emphasized more of the power of words to be kind or cruel. There was one comment I made that is a good segue into today’s post: “Connotation must be sincere and appropriate:” The same tools that can help are the ones that can be used for manipulative purposes. I have been on both sides when it comes to manipulation: I have hurt and been hurt by every degree of deception from subtle misdirection to blatant lies.
There are two reasons I can think of to deceive as an adult: fear and manipulation. Children lie often when they feel they will get into trouble. This is a part of development that requires proper discipline and admonition; the most effective remedy is to react appropriately to negative behaviors so discipline causes sorrow for the offense, not fear of the punishment. ; Adults, however, lie out of fear as well, in spite of knowing better. The most tempting thing to do is fudge on deadlines, make excuses, or magnify actual impediments that may not really have been significant enough to impair progress on a project or task. Lying out of fear is not right, but lying in order to manipulate is abuse. Neither transgression is any greater or less in God’s eyes, but manipulation leaves human carnage in its wake that perhaps does not occur so much when one fudges something to get out of trouble.
Manipulation involves a whole tool box full of techniques: putting someone down or overpraising him; pouring out affection or withholding it; appealing to one’s sympathy or to their fears to get what is desired; making someone feel like they did something wrong that was really beyond their control. The most horrid of manipulation occurs toward children or people who are under the authority of the manipulator, making them feel they have no recourse and that they must comply or somehow be retaliated against. The following scriptures all refer to various relationships, but each points out the wrong of being manipulative:
Eph. 6:4- And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
1 Peter 5:2-3- Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
Col. 4:1- Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
Psalm 10:7- (Of the wicked) His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.
You and I have to guard ourselves in the smallest ways to make sure that I do not allow manipulation to enter any of my relationships. Provoking, lying, misdirecting, downplaying, redirecting blame; all of these are ways that manipulation can creep into a marriage and a home. It takes the power of the Holy Ghost and sound words to avoid falling into the trap.