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Manipulation is very closely associated with revenge (though we may not think so), for it’s based on the false premise that we are required to sort everything out in life for ourselves. People who manipulate like to be in control. They like to engineer situations and people so that they are treated well and things work out for them. The root of manipulation lies in our belief that we are all-important, at the centre of the universe, with everything revolving around us. It’s a skill we learn early on in life as any parent of a toddler knows well (they are able to turn the tears on and off with consummate ease according to where they are and what they want!)

God does not want us to live like this. Manipulating people to make them serve us is the very opposite of how God acts. He who could rightly command our service gave us free will and offers us the choice to serve Him because we love Him, not out of fear or terror. We need to allow others the same free will and learn to let go of our need to be in control. This is terrifying at first, for the beloved may well choose a path that leads away from truth and trust, but it is the only way ultimately that leads to freedom. Those who seek to manipulate people and are in relationships where coercive control rules will not find the love they crave, for Jesus pointed us to love which denies itself and seeks the highest good always. Stop trying to make people do what you want and focus on loving God and doing what He wants!