I had someone recently inform me that someone in my new church had manipulated me. They didn’t ask whether I’d made a decision and followed through or if the other person had pressured me. They didn’t know the other person. They didn’t ask any of the particulars. They made a statement and I said that wasn’t always the case and gave that particular situation as example. Their immediate response was not a healthy “maybe things are different in different places” or “how did you feel about this statement”, but simply “they were manipulating you.”
The situation I had used as an example is one I’m particularly happy about. It was a good choice for me. I’ve not had one regret about the situation, and have actually become more pleased with it over time. But their statement still troubled me deeply. I was manipulated in my former church. I don’t want to be manipulated again. But more than that, what they said was manipulative, in that they didn’t take time to find out “the rest of the story” but simply shot that back at me out of the blue.
What is manipulation? Is it open discussion and dialogue, leading to a well informed opinion, or statements that are sly or twisted with an intent to deceive or meet their own end? It’s most definitely the latter.
There’ve been a whole lot of times in Pentecost that I’ve seen things twisted that way to silence, to wound, to block another way of thinking, to stop someone from doing a thing. I guess what took my breath away this time was that I wasn’t talking to a Pentecostal… and I’ve been in a healthy situation (the one the person attacked) long enough to realize just how unhealthy the person’s statement was.
Now, if I could just go ahead and get over “furious” and get to “forgiveness” maybe things could get back to normal for me.