How Do You Define Manipulation?

Todd Hertz

May 11, 2010

I agree with you that love is key. No one can make some one else love. I think that in many church experiences conformity is mistaken for transformation. First the church can convince someone it's in their own self-interest to behave a particular way by threatening social consequences, financial repercussions, physical punishment, hell... and get conformity rather than transformation. Or the church can sell the results of following Christ as self-fullment. After all following Christ offers freedom from guilt, a sense of purpose and belonging, personal satisfaction, opportunities to contribute to a good cause, etc. This seems to still keep the focus on self.

What can the church do? I think we love Christ and other people. If we are loving Christ and seeking to be like him we become less and less self-involved. We focus on the great commandment to love God with our hearts, minds, and souls and love our neighbors as ourselves. Our lives become authentic and truthful because they are centered on the God of truth. An outwardly focused, others-centered perspective also makes us less vulnerable to manipulation. As we become partakers in his nature and experience his transforming love our responses to his will become genuinely "want to" rather than obligatory "have to." Nobody manipulated Jesus...He offered Himself freely. He was about doing the will of His Father and changing the lives of those He encountered.

May 11, 2010

God can lead us to do things for Him since He alone is worth of obedience. There is nothing wrong with God wanting us to obey Him.
[Now entering into Lost discussion based on this season]
The problem with direct correlation of Jacob and God is that Jacob lied to Hurley to get Jack to the Lighthouse. God would never do that to accomplish His will.
Great post.

May 11, 2010

Aren’t you really talking about the doctrine of election? Does God manipulate us into making a choice for salvation? I sure hope so. Because I was dead in my sins and God resurrected me. When is the last time you heard of a dead man resurrecting himself? It was 100% God’s grace and mercy and I am forever grateful.

Do we have a will? Yes, of course we have a will. Calvin said, if you mean by a free will a faculty of choosing by which you have the power within yourself to choose what you desire, then we all have free will. If you mean by free will the ability for fallen human beings to incline themselves and exercise that will to choose the things of God without the prior monergistic work of regeneration then, said Calvin, free will is far too grandiose a term to apply to a human being. In your desire to not be manipulated by either Satan or God, are you in fact believing in a false notion of free will and using it as a measuring stick to independently determine that which is good?

Before conversion we were free to choose what we desire. However, what we desired was always sin. Because we were dead, free will was an illusion. After conversion God enables our will by grace to choose him.

For the unconverted, Satan drives, manipulates, over powers, smothers, has no respect for our person and ultimately kills.

Satan has no power over the converted except by permission. After conversion, by grace we can choose NOT to be manipulated by Satan and choose instead to give ourselves to the Spirit of God who works all things to our good. God restores real choice to us by grace. He does not manipulate the Christian in the sense of overpowering. But He does manipulate circumstances to work to our good. He is jealous for us, He loves us, He desires that we succeed and He arranges circumstances to help us to that end like any good parent would. Is that manipulation?

"It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure," (Philip. 2: 13.) The first part of a good work is the will, the second is vigorous effort in the doing of it. God is the author of both. (Calvin)

May 12, 2010

I don't know if Satan needs to do much manipulation, we seem to go down the wide path to destruction quite easily our- sinfull-selves. If it were manipulation by God to steer me or rather lift me bodily- from the mess I was in by showing me what Jesus Christ had done for me, then Hallelujah for manipulation!

May 16, 2010

Manipulation is positioning another to do what they would not voluntarily choose to do, either by lying to them about what you want them to do, or providing selective information knowing they would act differently if they had complete information.

God is God, so God can and will do whatever God chooses to do. By definition, we are in no position to question, that is, if we even know exactly what God is doing.

If God tricks someone into salvation by giving them incomplete information, the only one God is really fooling is God, which is too contradictory to contemplate. To the extent we have a choice, it seems God would want to see what we choose. Otherwise, God would just program us to be good, to be saved, to be perfect. We know God hasn't done that.

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