Have you ever heard someone claim that their “hustle” is so strong that they can sell ice to an Eskimo? They are probably operating in a spirit of manipulation. Using deceitful antics to persuade someone to do what they want them to do is not “hustle” its witchcraft! A pure hustle is being dedicated to success without deceiving or hurting other people. A pure hustle never compromises integrity and self-respect for gains. Bottom line, if they have to lie, cheat, or steal to get it, that’s not hustle that is manipulation.
Manipulators seek to control and influence their victims in order to remain in control or take advantage of them in one manner or another. This pursuit for control goes well beyond the unscrupulous salesperson that sells ice to Eskimos, but it is present in every sphere of life, including marriage, parenting, friendship, work, entrepreneur-ism, politics, sports, etc...
Some of the weapons used in manipulation are deception, confusion, sex or sex appeal, guilt, and power: Deception can be in the form of boldface lies or equivocations (half-truths). Confusion is a result of the manipulator’s deception causing the person under siege to be disoriented to what the present reality is. Sex or sex appeal is used to seduce victims into desired behaviors or to string them along with selfish ambition. One may rightfully argue that this is just another facet of prostitution. Guilt is used by manipulators to shame another person into actions or behaviors. It becomes the heavy yoke that is used to steer the manipulated and remain in control. Power is the chief weapon that can be in form of position, rank, access, money, and notoriety. It is used to coerce, establish dependency (you need me), and establish or solidify dominance.
Manipulators will use all of their power to get more power in order to remain in control over the mind and spirit of those being controlled. Whether it is consciously or unconsciously, they launch a dual attack on their victims that is both spiritual and psychological. A person that is affected spiritually will demonstrate a loss of peace and courage. In many cases, the state of the manipulated can cause a downcast spirit in them (depressiveness). Those that are affected psychologically become disoriented to reality, forgetting who they are in exchange for what the controller(s) suggest that they are. In some instances the manipulated may lose sight of self-worth and purpose.
In the Bible we find the account of Elijah who encountered the manipulative spirit of Jezebel. Like many of us, I can imagine Elijah laughing at the idea of being controlled or dominated by any person through the witchcraft of manipulation. Unfortunately, Jezebel succeeded in (temporally) controlling several areas of Elijah’s life (1 Kings 19:1-18). This spiritual and psychological attack produced in him a loss of courage, so he ran, hoping to escape the grip of Jezebel; He forgot who he was, a prophet and child of God, so he hid; He was deceived by the message, so he became depressed and complained about his situation; He Forgot who God IS, because he was confused by the antics of Jezebel.
Please understand that Elijah still remains an amazing hero of faith, like all of the children of God, he had a “bounce back.” What we can learn from this event in his life is that manipulation makes no exception of persons. It doesn’t matter how great or small a person is, they too can be effected if they are caught off guard. The Scriptures gives us the wisdom needed to become equipped and stand against all sorts of attacks by being dressed in the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). The full armor is spiritual and it will prevent the sons and daughters from being seduced, coerced, dominated, or played with.
It is not easy to move a person that is standing their ground dressed in the full armor. Instead of running from the influence of Jezebel, they will stand strong against the power of manipulation. Instead of hiding they will make war against any corrupt thing seeking to dominate or destroy their lives. Instead of complaining about the present circumstances, they praise the Name of God, who is our deliverer and strength. Instead of confusion they move in faith, conquering all things that are contrary to the abundant life promised them (John 10:10).
Take a stand against manipulation! If you are moved by manipulators you will soon forget how to stand or the reason you took a stand in the first place.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
*Image retrieved from the internet.