Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Manipulation or Advice?

I wish I could change her mind…I wish they would see it my way…I just want to her to change…
I’m sure we’ve all had these thoughts in some way or another. Have you ever wanted to change someone so bad that it drove you insane? For some reason we feel this natural compulsion to change people, we want to manipulate them into what we think is good or right. This really puts us in a world of hurt though because it makes everything personal. In dating we should just try to find someone who we accept as is without trying to change them. In friendships we should not be manipulative and try to mold it into something it is not. In giving advice we should be simple and do just that, give advice, not try to make someone do what we think should be done. Advice is something that has to be accepted and applied, which infers that sometimes it is not accepted. If you ever take a look at a lot of people and just listen and analyze what they are saying and doing, we live in a very manipulative society full of people trying to be dictators rather than helpers. Those of us who are new creations in Christ have been given a Helper as well, the Holy Spirit. But for some reason when I look around the Christian realm I am still overwhelmed by manipulative people. I’ll punk myself out here as an example… My little sister and her boyfriend have been dating for a long time and are now engaged. They are not close to the Lord and do not follow His way. They are your typical “American Christian”, meaning they claim to be a Christian, but do not follow Christ or know Him, they just like the idea and have crosses on their cars. Well on Thanksgiving they were engaged. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I was so worried about their marriage and relationship without God that I began to become almost angry over them not being close to the Lord like I am currently. I was talking to my mom about it one night and just went on this 30 minute rant about marriages without God are ridiculous because marriage is an institute created by God. I wanted to change their relationship with God, like reach into their hearts and change it. I used to think this way about people I taught in Jacksonville in Sunday school, If I could only change them. Because I was so worried about changing them I came off as manipulative and not caring. The point here is that God doesn’t ask us to change anyone. I had to learn this lesson in an unfortunate way, by hurting someone who finally called me out on this and conviction from the Holy Spirit. God asks us to go out and speak truth and love and pray that the Spirit would change them. It is an issue of me wanting to see “success”. Success is simple, speak God’s word in love. If I become impatient and manipulative am I not basically saying that I don’t trust the Spirit to do His job when I try to do it for Him? This can be an easing thought in many things like teaching a brother or sister in Christ about something, teaching someone about Christ for the first time, when people ask for advice, and in your own personal relationships. Trust that God knows what He is doing. Remember that you are not in control but can only suggest things with love. We can never change anything and must remain faithful and patient and pray to God that He would produce fruit with the work He has given us. May you go out and surrender control, surrender changing, surrender manipulation, and breathe, love, and live as if you are truly free. Be a busy worker in the field laboring when the master returns. Forget manipulation, we need love!

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