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Monday, August 15, 2005

There's a difference....

ma·nip·u·late
1. To move, arrange, operate, or control by the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner: She manipulated the lights to get just the effect she wanted.
2. To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously: He manipulated public opinion in his favor.
3. To tamper with or falsify for personal gain: tried to manipulate stock prices.
4. Medicine To handle and move in an examination or for therapeutic purposes: manipulate a joint; manipulate the position of a fetus during delivery

teach
1. To impart knowledge or skill to: teaches children.
2. To provide knowledge of; instruct in: teaches French.
3. To condition to a certain action or frame of mind: teaching youngsters to be self-reliant.
4. To cause to learn by example or experience: an accident that taught me a valuable lesson.
5. To advocate or preach: teaches racial and religious tolerance.
6. To carry on instruction on a regular basis in: taught high school for many years.


I’ve seen both and been on the receiving end of each. My mother practiced what I call “open manipulation”. She would go through the motions of manipulating someone but she could never “go for the kill”. She would always stop and fully explain the situation then make the choice clear. I think I’m guilty of that at times.

To manipulate someone is to enslave them. To teach someone is to liberate them. Manipulation reduces a person to a specific use. Teaching strengthens a person and builds them up. Manipulation is an easy way to force someone to cooperate where teaching requires understanding and agreement. Teaching usually requires that one be clearly shown everything where manipulation usually requires that very little, if anything, be clearly shown.

People act on what they believe. Their actions determine how they feel. As a person learns about God they are able to alter their beliefs concerning Him so that their actions result in feelings of contentment and peace with God. This reinforces their beliefs and they grow in the faith. One of the cruelest methods of manipulation is practiced by every religion of the world. This is the way that seems right unto man. Feelings are provoked through associative means for the purpose of reinforcing a proposed belief. The belief, once accepted, is acted on and positive feedback reinforces the belief even though it may well be to the detriment of the person being manipulated.

I pray God will help us to always be instruments of His Spirit and teach others, not manipulate them.

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13 Comments:

Blogger jeff said...

This is so pertinent, as I have gotten into it with other bloggers who plainly say that we should drink beer and cuss with our non-christ-follower friends, but NEVER bring up the subject of Christ, because it would drive them away.

My argument is that if I am a Christian, then my life is about Christ. Therefore, it is going to be a part of my conversation- genuine conversation.

Of course, I think what they're referring to is the Christian who always seems to know better than anyone else... always trying to talk people into salvation.

To teach someone is to liberate them.

This is so correct. Truth is freedom.

here's a great example: I work in sales. 3 days last week, I had a fellow riding with me. By day 2, our conversation naturally turned to spiritual things. As it turns out, he is a Jehovah's Witness. Of course, I asked him a million questions... not to refute his answers, but to understand him better. In turn, he also asked questions. We had real communication. We didn't convert each other. Neither did we confront each other. We simply stated our points. It was refreshing.

Had I tried to manipulate him with loaded-questions, he would have written me off. Instead, I got to know him and he got to know me. Now we're friends. And that's pretty cool.

Will I try to convert him? Probably not. That would end up being manipulative. Instead, I will continue to show him the love of Christ, and allow "the goodness of God" to "call him to repentance".

Sometimes, we just have to trust God to do His thing through us, instead of trying to figure it all out ourselves.

8/15/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

good stuff, i'm reminded of when Jesus tells us to let our yes be yes and no be no. if we use more words, then we are trying to get the response we desire, but out of confidence, trust, and our identity coming from God, we have no need to manipulate with more than a yes or no.

8/15/2005 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Kc,

Thanks for the stimulating conversation. I have a definition of the word "teach" that I would like to share with you and others. "Teach - To inspire students to learn and discover on their own through research and application." A good example would be Philip and the eunuch. Once Philip taught him about Jesus, the eunuch was inspired to accept Christ and be baptized. The Word then says he went away rejoicing. That is my goal each time I spend time with someone, that they can walk away rejoicing. Very good words, you are a blessing to the Body of Christ!

8/15/2005 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Why do I get the feeling that any one of you could have addressed this topic better than I did? (grin)

Jeff thanks for the great comment. I sympathize. It’s hard for me to speak with anyone for very long without them knowing I’m a believer and without knowing their belief concerning God and Jesus. I don’t plan it that way it’s just a consequence of my intent. I honestly believe Jesus gave us the example to live both a sacramental and a sanctified life. Sometimes it’s hard to find our place when they seem to conflict. I think it best we allow His Spirit to guide our conscience in those moments and avoid trying to make a rule to follow. God knows best who to use where and how. I have an example of what I mean;

A missionary I know and love was propositioned by a prostitute. He agreed to pay her for her time and then asked to only talk. She agreed and he paid her. He talked with her and eventually was allowed to share the Gospel. She was converted and became a faithful servant to the Church. Those who know this man and his work would expect no less from him. If I consider my Pastor picking up a prostitute I could see this potentially being a stumbling block to many in the community who know of him. An act like this could surely be used to turn their mind against him no matter what the outcome. This may not be the case but only God knows for sure.

This then comes down to just what you said. We should just trust Him and submit.

Jody your words condemn me. Thank you. I say too much or too little too often and usually it’s fear that drives my babbling or silence. Your point concerning our identity is critical in my opinion. I suspect our fear of rejection coupled with our insecurity drives us to try and identify with almost everyone but Jesus. I truly appreciate the admonition.

Ron thanks for the definition and the kind words. I have been blessed by each of the devotions you offered and I really look forward to them. Others who read here might be interested in receiving them as well. I noticed your email address isn’t on your profile. For anyone here who would like to receive the devotions I will be glad to forward your request to Ron.

8/16/2005 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

Kc,

Thanks for letting me know! I will change that today. Hey, I just posted something about criticism on my blog. Check it out and let me know what you think!

8/16/2005 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Have you seen this site: http://emergentno.blogspot.com ?

8/16/2005 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Ron YVW. I didn’t mean to be critical. (grin) Good post.

Yes Adam, thanks. I’ve read a lot from a little and a little from a lot. I’ve formed some opinions and I plan to offer them here soon. I do appreciate the heads up.

8/16/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

kc all I can say is AMEN brother!

8/16/2005 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris I really appreciate the acknowledgment.

To everyone, Kris has posted a question on his blog and I would like to encourage everyone to offer their perspective on his topic.

8/18/2005 05:32:00 AM  
Blogger sophigirl said...

Yeah, this is good. Especially when we rememebr that we don;t really teach others anything, but the Eternal Truth teaches them by using our words as mere reminders to prompt their thought.

Good blog, kc!

8/18/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Excellent point Sophigirl! Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ve been very blessed reading your post and comments and I’m honored to have them here. I’m really looking forward to reading more from you. ;-)

8/19/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger sophigirl said...

kc, thanks, but I've just read too many smart guys for my own good, so now they pop out of my head whenever I start thinking about anything. For this one you have to thank Augustine. :)

8/19/2005 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Augustine! (grin) BTW you have a good dialog started over there and I plan to borrow your umbrella (the PMT concept) with your permission. ;-)

8/20/2005 12:08:00 AM  

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