What's Wrong With Manipulation?
Manipulation is serious business and contrary to the ways and will of God. In the following passage, it is called witchcraft.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV) emphasis mine
Here is verse 20 in the Passion Translation. It has been translated as manipulating others instead of witchcraft.
Chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, Galatians 5:20 (The Passion translation, TPT) emphasis mine
God hates manipulation. One reason is because it tries to control the choices, decisions and actions of another person. God intends for everyone to have free will to make choices for themselves. That is why He does not force us to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Manipulation, however, is based on the premise that not everyone should have the ability to make their own choices.
Another reason God hates manipulation is because it involves some form of deception or trickery in order to affect another person’s choices. Liars (and those who practice withchcraft) will have their place in the Lake of Fire, according to Revelation 21:8. The devil is the father of lies, and he is the number one manipulator.
God also hates manipulation because it is motivated by either fear or selfishness- or both. Fear is not from God, and selfishness is contrary to the nature of God. Those who try to control others do so because they are afraid of what might happen if the person is able to make their own choices. Manipulators are selfish and try to control others because they want things their way- even if they have to step on the rights of others.
There are even Christians who use manipulation. Some do so because they do not trust God to provide an outcome they can be happy with. They try to coerce people into doing what they think is best, because they have placed themselves in the position of God. I know that is a strong statement, but the body of Christ has too many people trying to play God and manipulate people into doing what they want. Not only is that spitting in the eye of God, but our knowledge is so inadequate to make any decision about what is going to be best for someone in the long run. Only God knows the whole picture. Therefore, while we may have good intentions, any attempt to manipulate others can produce some very bad consequences.
As believers, if we see someone doing something that we think is wrong for them or others, we can go to them in meekness and love and tell them our concerns. If they will not hear what we have to say, then we take it to God in prayer and ask Him to intervene as He sees fit. We should also ask God to show us if we need to change our thinking on the situation. Our perspective may be wrong and we should be open to God’s correction on the matter. Obviously, if someone is sinning, we would not need to change our thinking about it. However, sometimes God can get through to someone in a more effective way if we choose not to point out their wrongs over and over. He knows the best circumstances that will create the best outcome in that person’s life, and if we have lovingly contronted them without success, further interference on our part might hinder His plan and strategy.
We need to regularly check ourselves and our motives. Let’s make sure we are not engaged in manipulative tactics. We must trust God and take our hands off of people and situations that are not ours to control. Manipulation, or witchcraft, is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. Refuse to have anything to do with it. You will free others to make their own choices, and you will be free from the need to control.