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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

Manipulation versus persuasion

This study is based on another booklet by Hunt, June. Biblical Counseling Keys on Manipulation: Cutting the Strings of Control. Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008.

She states the following:

Manipulation: Cutting the Strings of Control

Attempts to control our world begin with the first breath of life. A baby’s natural cry, called the “cry for attention,” represents the first efforts at getting our needs met. Over the years, children can learn to use manipulative tears to get their way within their little circle of life. As we grow into adults, we develop highly refined personal skills for meeting our needs by taking matters into our own hands and manipulating people and events around us. These methods of control are so deeply ingrained that we lack personal insight into our deceptive behavior. Most of us are more aware of the manipulation of others than of our own “string-pulling.” But maturity demands that we lay bare before God our need to control and that we begin the process of trusting the One who is in ultimate control.

She defines manipulation as the art of controlling people or circumstances by indirect, unfair, or deceptive means, especially to one’s advantage.

Persuasion is the act of convincing people by urging, reasoning, and appealing to one’s mind.

“What is the difference between manipulation and persuasion?”

Someone who manipulates uses emotional means to get their way.

Someone who persuades uses logical means to achieve their goal.

We fall into this sin often because we fear people. We want their respect. We don’t realize that being a people pleaser allows traps to be set for us.

If we learned to live to please God, the audience of One, we would trust God and be safe. Proverbs 29:25

When we seek to please men, we unconsciously trust what a man can do. We want them to be impressed, to respect us, to desire to help us. With these desires, we have now moved men into God’s place in our hearts. We must decide to trust only what the Lord God of Heaven can do in our lives. We decide we will trust God. We wait for only what He can and will do. That is what we are commanded to do. Jeremiahs 17:5-7

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