30 Days to Taming Your Tongue - What you say (and don't say) will improve your relationships by Deborah Smith Pegues
Day Three - The Manipulating Tongue
Then Delilah pouted, "How can you say you love me when you don't confide in me? You've made fun of me three times now, and you still haven't told me what makes you so strong!" - Judges 16:15
God endowed Samson with supernatural physical strength and cautioned his parents that he was never to cut his hair, the secret to his strength. After many attempts using the age-old, guilt-inducing "if you love me, you would..." argument, Delilah (the woman he'd fallen in love with) manipulated Samson into telling her the secret to his great strength. Then, for financial gain, she betrayed his trust and revealed the mystery to his enemies. Samson never regained his former glory. Judges 16 records the tragic end of a strong man who was weakened by a manipulative woman. Manipulation can destroy not only a relationship but also a person's life.
Today many men suffer from what (the author calls) "Delilah-phobia," the fear of disclosing their vulnerabilities. Of course, their fear prevents them from achieving real intimacy with the opposite sex. It is critical that neither man nor woman should ever mention in a manipulative or retaliatory way their entrusted knowledge of the personal fears and weaknesses of another.
Manipulation is a crafty use of the tongue and a self-perpetuating vice. Once manipulators find that their craftiness helps them to achieve their objectives, they become proud of their "smooth operating" skills. They will use all kinds of indirect tactics ranging from "guilt trips" to portraying themselves as innocent, suffering victims of various circumstances. They man even start t enjoy their ability to influence others in such a manner.
While manipulators are subtle and make every attempt to cloak their self-serving motives, they often forget that many people are very discerning and have a keen sensitivity to such insincerity. Further, manipulators lose all credibility once people become aware of their propensity to engage in such behavior. People will suspect that they always have ulterior motives and will avoid them like the plague.
We never read of Jesus manipulating anybody. He always offered everyone a better way of life but accepted their decision to pursue another option even when it was not in their best interest.
It would behoove us to emulate Him in this regard. Manipulation is deceptive and attempts to take away a person's freewill choice.
Because I am in right standing with God, He surrounds me with favor. Therefore, I have no need to manipulate anyone for personal gain or advantage.