Sunday, January 3, 2016

Manipulating God

I recently had an experience I'd like to share.  A person invited me to their home...but it wasn't an ordinary invitation.  There was guilt involved.  Now I've learned what manipulation and control look like and I try not to respond to it.  But after a couple of days (and feeling guilty that I hadn't responded yet), I went to visit them.  They were so anxious to have me there!  But it wasn't a friendly interaction.  It was almost as if this person was panicked that I would leave--fearful of being left alone.  So they kept suggesting things to do.  I had no desire to do the things they were suggesting, but I tried to remain friendly and made a couple of suggestions of my own.  We did some of those things and then they turned on the TV--so loudly we couldn't carry on a conversation.  I thought it strange when they'd been so anxious for me to come and visit!  When I was about to leave (after what I considered a lengthy stay), they were very vocal about their needs, what they needed me to do for them, and how often I should come and visit them.  They even told me I wasn't dressing correctly as a pastor's wife.  There was nothing in me wanting to stay in their presence!  I was anxious to leave.

After I got home, I began thinking on that experience.  And because I've learned that when I'm critical of someone else, it's as if God has put a mirror in front of me.  He's wanting me to examine and see if those same things are true of me.  So I took a step back and asked, " I do that to You?"  And I knew immediately that I did.

There are times I use scripture to try and manipulate God.  I remind Him of things He's done in the past to try and make Him do those things for me.  I'm fearful He's not going to do them.  I'm fearful He's not going to answer my prayers and spend time with me.  I ask Him to come and visit with me and then I get distracted--with TV or Facebook and end up leaving Him sitting there not being able to communicate with me at all.  I keep trying to tell Him what I think we should go do and don't even listen to His suggestions.  I become very vocal about my needs--but the way I've interacted with Him can't be appealing to Him at all.  I've even been critical of God and what He does or doesn't do for me.

What an amazing way God has given me to see myself and my actions.  I don't want to quench the Spirit of God!!  I don't want to be a bad host of His presence.  I don't want to be a manipulator or use guilt.  I want true relationship, friendship, and enjoyment of one another.  And to have that, I have to change my ways.

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