Getting Ahead: Manipulation


Most children will go to the easiest parent to get their way. The process that they seem to learn, without being taught, is to work one against the other. If you are a parent you know what I am talking about.

How many times have you heard, “Daddy said it is OK with him,” when daddy really said “Ask your mother.”

When I would tell my children to ask their mother, I was not necessarily saying that it is OK. Usually the reason I wanted them to ask her was that she might have a stronger and more informed opinion of the issue at hand.

Many times their mother had already told them no and they thought that telling her that dad said it was OK would get them what they wanted. Sometimes it goes the other way and they work mom against dad.

This seems to be a little thing but this is probably the place where manipulation starts in our life. Even though it seems quite harmless on the surface, it can ruin your life if it continues.

To “bear false witness” is wrong in every culture. That is precisely what a child is doing when they say it is OK with dad when dad said, ask your mother. They are taking something that one parent said, (bearing), and twisting it, (false witness), to be what they want it to be.

The history of civilization testifies to the fact that anything built on a lie will fail. To manipulate a situation you have to bear false witness and to bear false witness is to lie. Have we in some way developed the thought that manipulation is not like telling a lie? What would lead us to think that way? Is it because we want our way regardless of the cost? Do we truly know that there is a price to pay and that manipulation in the process ruins it? Do you believe; “the truth will set you free?”

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30. Come at 7 p.m. and be part of our Wednesday night Bible Study and Children’s Ministry on the third floor above Trends at 120 West Court St. in Washington C.H.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist

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