Control and manipulation comes in all forms, from people, organizations, churches, denominations and the list goes on. It even exists in people who claim to follow, love and serve Messiah. Sometimes using the line, “Well the Ruach (Hebrew for Spirit) showed me this or that” and they never heard from the Ruach actually. Insecurities are normally the root that drives controlling behavior and usually, controlling people don’t even know they are controlling.
To manipulate is to negotiate, control or influence for one’s own advantage. Spiritual manipulation is a technique used by some abusive churches and cults to control individuals and acquire gain, all the while giving the impression that their teachings are based on the Bible. However, this is not the nature of the Ruach and anytime we observe behavior that is not equivalent to the nature of the Ruach it is a clear sign the person either is not born again or is not walking in the Spirit. Some individuals manipulate Scripture for their own personal benefit.
During a conversation between believers, someone might say, “The Lord has told me this or that. . . .” This phrase essentially shuts down the conversation because it implies that, since God has spoken a word, there can’t be any further discussion. Don’t be fooled by this trick; it is a form of spiritual manipulation. Victims of spiritual manipulation seldom realize what’s happening to them.
When someone is out to “win,” dominate or control, but are subtle, underhanded or deceptive enough to hide their true intentions, their behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive. Manipulators avoid any overt display of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into giving them what they want. This is a powerfully manipulative maneuver.
The tactics manipulators use can make it seem like they’re hurting, caring, defending, …, almost anything but fighting. These tactics are hard to recognize as merely clever ploys. They always make just enough sense to make a person doubt their gut hunch that they’re being taken advantage of or abused.
Recognizing the inherent aggression in manipulative behavior and becoming more aware of the slick, surreptitious ways that manipulative people prefer to aggress against us is extremely important. Not recognizing their subtly aggressive moves causes most people to misinterpret the behavior of manipulators and, therefore, fail to respond to them in an appropriate fashion. Recognizing when and how manipulators are fighting with covertly aggressive tactics is essential.
Those with spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear will be able to see this type of behavior and avoid being deceived by these manipulators. If you enter into a relationship with someone like this you will not enjoy a healthy relationship. It will be full of subtle demands and manipulation so your mate can get their way. People who are like this need help and they need to examine themselves because this is not the nature of the Ruach.