W. Austin Gardner
Manipulation versus persuasion 2
So often, we wickedly rejoice in our rich and powerful friends. What they think of us means more to us than the Lord though that is never our intention. We sin when we seek the approval of men. The fear of man, the desire to please people can be one of our most wicked sins.
Our goal must be to please God and not man. How often do we fail because we seek to please those we see with the human eye rather than the One we see with the eye of faith.
The apostle Paul said he didn’t care about pleasing men but God who would try his heart. That is why he didn’t use flattering words. That is why Paul didn’t seek personal recognition or credit for what he did. He worked with people gently like a nurse caring for her children. He said that the people he worked with were precious to him. I Thessalonians 2:3-8
I am confident that many times we are not trying to manipulate others. We are trying to do the right thing for the right reason. But somewhere in the deep recesses of our hearts, we want men to think well of us. Our reputation is critical to us. We want to be loved and respected. We can genuinely love people while falling into the trap of wanting to be loved and respected. The concern for our reputation leads us into a sin trap we never wanted to be in.
If we fall into the trap of manipulation, then people will begin to feel used. They may do the right thing for a time but not for the right reason. They will eventually turn from the change that started because of outward pressure rather than an inward work of the Holy Spirit.
So we determine to seek to please only God, not fear people, and allow the work to be done by the Holy Spirit rather than our abilities.