How many of you have ever been in a relationship with someone who used devious, unfair and skillfully insidious means in an attempt to control you or the situation to their own advantage? Probably all of you could raise your hand. And, if we are honest, we all have the tendency to be the manipulator and string-puller ourselves.
Tonight, in our UPLIFT service, we will talk about dealing with manipulation and there is plenty in the Bible, both directly and in narrative form, about manipulation. The title of tonight’s message is “Pushed Buttons and Pulled Strings: Dealing with Manipulation.” Bottom line, you really cannot do anything about the person who is determined to manipulate you through flattery, threats, silence, negative predictions, or guilt but you can minimize your susceptibility to manipulation by changing how you respond to these situations.
Manipulation should never be confused with legitimate, direct and above board influence. We all engage in attempts to influence others. Healthy, appropriate influence is shaped by open, honest and direct communication.
Tonight, we will take a look at situations that push your buttons by pulling your strings through manipulation. We will look at common tactics used, defense mechanisms, and some practical skills to help us navigate in a world of skilled string pullers.
If you really care about me and care at all about the importance of the church, then you will be in our UPLIFT service tonight. And I am assuming that you understand that the previous sentence was a cheap, poor joke on manipulation.