Manipulators who use the art of manipulation are all around us. Manipulation is gradually on the rise and even believers are joining the bandwagon. The devil aims to take as many as possible along with him to hell. He uses different manipulative techniques to make Christians derail from the track. This article explores what the bible says about liars and manipulators, bible verses about manipulation, how to identify manipulators, the meaning of spiritual manipulation and many more. I believe you will be blessed by this write-up.
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In this article
- 1 What is manipulation?
- 2 Are there Examples of Manipulation in the Bible?
- 3 What Is Spiritual Manipulation?
- 4 What are the Effects of Manipulation?
- 5 Signs You Are Being Manipulated
- 6 Am I Manipulative?
- 7 How to Break Free From Manipulation and Manipulators
- 8 What Does The Bible Say About Manipulative Parents?
- 9 Bible Verses about Manipulation
- 10 Final Thoughts
What is manipulation?
Manipulation is an act of controlling someone using lies and manipulative techniques. A manipulator intends to be in total control of someone’s thoughts, decisions and actions. The trick is to make the other person helpless so that they can be in control.
Are there Examples of Manipulation in the Bible?
There are several examples of manipulators in the bible. They are people who use lies and deceit to get what they want or control the other person.
Once I hear manipulator in the bible; Jacob comes to mind. Jacob was the twin brother of Esau and I believe he was always interested in taking over the rights of Esau. The first time Jacob manipulated Esau was when he asked for Esau’s birthright in exchange for porridge which Esau agreed. Siblings are meant to take care of each other not exploit each other.
The second time was when he disguised himself as Esau (with help from his mother) to steal his brother’s blessings. He was punished for his actions even though he received the blessings. The consequences of his actions include: he never saw his mother and father again, he was manipulated by his uncle to marry the woman he didn’t love, he was in exile for years, and his brother wanted to kill him.
- The old prophet (1 kings 13:11-25)
The story of the old and young prophets is a sad one. The old prophet manipulated the young prophet into disobeying God. The old prophet lied to the young prophet for his selfish interest. This led to the death of the young prophet. I read this story as a young believer and it was an eye-opener for me. I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit that can help us discern manipulators like the old prophet who only care about their reputation.
- Delilah (Judges 16)
Samson was a very strong man whose name scared the Philistines. Samson fell into the trap of Delilah who was in the relationship to exploit and trick him. I always wondered how Delilah was able to keep Samson in her cage, asking him for the secret of his strength until he yielded. Believers must learn to separate from every toxic relationship. We should never be willing to be unequally yoked with unbelievers because unbelievers are willing to play dirty games to win.
- The demon-possessed girl (Acts 16:16-20)
There was a girl who was demon-possessed and she was following Paul, telling everyone to believe him and respect him because he is the servant of the most high God. She wanted to use this trick to make people think she was associated with Paul and the gospel. Her acknowledgement of God automatically suggests to people that she was in contact with the God Paul preached.
Thank God for the discerning spirit in Paul that made him recognise she was speaking by an unclean Spirit. Paul delivered her from the unclean spirit and her masters were angry. Believers must have a constant relationship with God so that they can know his voice and have a discerning spirit.
- Simon (Acts 8:18-23)
Simon saw the way people were healed by the laying of hands of the apostle and he wanted to buy this gift with money, he thought he could manipulate Peter to exchange the anointing for money. Peter rebuked him and encouraged him to rather give his life to Christ.
Believers should never be manipulated to buy the anointing with money. Wherever you are asked to give money for you to receive from God; RUN OOOO.
- Devil (Genesis 3:1-7)
The devil is the father of all liars and manipulators (John 8:44). He has been in the game for a very long time; that is why we cannot overcome him with our natural human mind. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome his antics and tactics. When the Devil tricked Eve, he started by asking her a series of questions which made her curious. She went a step further to eat the fruit out of curiosity and she also gave her husband.
What Is Spiritual Manipulation?
Spiritual manipulation is using the bible to exploit, trick or control other people. Spiritual manipulation is often used by some churches or cults to keep people in control and prevent them from seeking help elsewhere. Apart from using the scriptures to control people, some use fear and emotional abuse to keep people under their control.
During a conversation between Christians, someone might say, “The Lord has told me that . . . .” This statement essentially shuts down the conversation because it implies that, since God has spoken a word, there can’t be any further discussion. Don’t be fooled by this trick; it is a form of spiritual manipulation. Or a preacher says, “Sow into my ministry, and God will repay you. Sow, and you will reap! God is no man’s debtor.” Could such preaching simply be an exploitive appeal for money? Is the preacher trying to influence people for his financial advantage? If so, it is spiritual manipulation.Gotquetions
In this end time, believers must be fervent and grounded in the word of God. We must know God and develop a personal relationship with him because there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing leading ignorant sheep to the slaughter.
What are the Effects of Manipulation?
Manipulation can have various effects on both the person being manipulated and the individual engaging in manipulative behaviours. Many manipulators do not realise they are also endangering and harming themselves by manipulating other people.
Effects of Manipulation on the Person Being Manipulated
1. It leaves an emotional scar. Manipulation causes Feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, or helplessness when people realize they’ve been manipulated. It can lead to self-doubt, depression, mental illnesses, and lack of social habits, fear of relationships and a loss of confidence.
2. The manipulated person’s trust is damaged: People who were once manipulated do not easily trust others. They often become very harsh on others which is unhealthy. Trust in the manipulator is also eroded and the relationship becomes strained.
3. It leaves a physiological effect. Long-term manipulation can lead to anxiety, depression, and a wrong perception of reality as the person may question their judgment and perception. It might affect the ability to make independent decisions, which breeds dependency on others’ opinions or decisions.
4. It causes self-esteem issues and prevents self-discovery. Manipulation can take away one’s self-worth, creating feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness. People who are manipulated find it difficult to go on a journey of self-discovery to achieve Self-actualisation.
5. Manipulation strains relationships. If manipulation occurs within personal relationships or marriage; it can strain or even sever those connections, leading to isolation or loneliness.
Effects of Manipulation on the Manipulator
1. Potential Guilt or Remorse: Some manipulators might experience guilt or remorse when they realize the harm caused by their actions.
2. Damaged Relationships: Manipulative behaviours can lead to strained or broken relationships, causing the manipulator to experience social isolation or difficulty in forming meaningful connections.
3. Short-term Gains, Long-term Losses: While manipulation might yield short-term benefits, the long-term consequences can include a lack of genuine connections and trust with others.
4. Personal Development is hindered: Reliance on manipulation can hinder personal growth as it prevents the development of authentic communication and relationship-building skills. Many manipulators rely on manipulation rather than developing their capacity to improve and become better people.
5. Potential Legal or Social Repercussions: In extreme cases, manipulative behaviours could result in legal consequences or social discrimination if they involve illegal or unethical actions.
Some of the effects of manipulation vary based on the intensity, duration of the manipulation, the resilience of the individual being manipulated, and the circumstances surrounding the manipulative behaviours.
Signs You Are Being Manipulated
It is difficult to recognise manipulation because manipulators are very kind and carefully choose their victim, but there are some signs to watch for in your interactions or relationships:
1. Feeling controlled: If you constantly feel like your choices, actions, or decisions are being controlled or heavily influenced by someone else.
2. Constant Guilt or Obligation: Feeling guilty or obligated to comply with someone’s requests even when it goes against your wishes or best interests.
3. Unexplained Emotional Swings: Experiencing sudden shifts in your emotions or feeling confused about your feelings and thoughts after interactions with someone.
4. You’re Isolated: The manipulator might isolate you from friends, family, or other support networks, making you more reliant on them.
5. Gaslighting Tactics: Being made to doubt your perceptions, memory, or sanity by someone who denies things they’ve said or done or tries to distort the truth to confuse you.
6. Overwhelming Charm or Flattery: Excessive praise, charm, or flattery used to manipulate you into doing something or feeling a certain way.
7. Withholding Information: Deliberately withholding key information to keep you in the dark or prevent you from making informed decisions.
8. Conditional Love or Approval: Making you feel that their love, approval, or support will be given only when you meet certain conditions or do what they want.
9. Dismissal of Feelings: Disregarding or belittling your feelings needs, or desires, making you feel unworthy or unimportant.
10. Consistent Feeling of Unease: A persistent feeling of discomfort, unease, or anxiety after interacting with someone, even if you can’t pinpoint the exact reason.
11. Giving without receiving: Feeling like you’re constantly giving, compromising, or sacrificing while receiving little or nothing in return.
If you notice several of these signs recurring in your interactions with someone, it might be an indication that manipulation is taking place. Trusting your instincts and seeking support from trusted friends or professionals can help provide clarity in such situations.
Am I Manipulative?
I believe nobody wants to be manipulated, it I also important for us to know if we are manipulating others without knowing it. Recognizing if you might be showing manipulative behaviour is a crucial step toward fostering healthier relationships. Here are signs that you might be engaging in manipulative behaviours:
1. Constant Need for Control: If you have a strong need to control situations, conversations, or people’s actions to serve your interests.
2. Using Guilt or Obligation: Leveraging guilt or a sense of obligation to make others do things they might not want to do.
3. Master of Persuasion: Being exceptionally persuasive or charming to get your way, even when it might not align with others’ desires or best interests.
4. Selective Sharing of Information: Deliberately withholding or distorting information to influence someone’s perception or decisions.
5. Gaslighting Tactics: Dismissing someone’s feelings or experiences, making them doubt their reality, or manipulating the truth to suit your narrative.
6. Playing Victim: Presenting yourself as the victim to gain sympathy or control in situations, often deflecting responsibility for your actions.
7. Conditional Affection or Support: Offering affection, attention, or support only when it serves your purposes or meets your needs.
8. Emotional Blackmail: Using emotional pressure or threats to make someone comply with your wishes.
9. Lack of Empathy: Disregarding or not considering the feelings, needs, or boundaries of others in pursuit of your own goals.
10. Seeking Advantage in Vulnerable Situations: Taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability or weaknesses for personal gain.
11. Shifting Responsibility: Blaming others or external factors for your actions or decisions to avoid accountability.
12. Manipulative Language: Using language that gently influences or coerces others into certain actions or beliefs without their full understanding.
If you exhibit these traits, it is important to acknowledge these signs and reflect on your behaviour. Acknowledging and reflecting on this behaviour is an essential step toward fostering healthier communication and relationships. Seeking guidance from therapists or counsellors is also necessary for addressing and modifying manipulative tendencies.
How to Break Free From Manipulation and Manipulators
It is very challenging to break free from manipulation. It’s like going into the house of a warrior to release the captives. It may be challenging but it is necessary and important for your wellbeing and growth. If you will fulfil your God-given purpose, you have to walk away from manipulative relationships or people. Here are steps to help you break free from manipulative situations:
1. Accept that you are manipulated
Accepting that you are being manipulated or exploited is a crucial step to breaking the cycle of manipulation. Acknowledge and identify the manipulation tactics being used against you. Understanding the tactics helps you see through the manipulator.
2. Trust Your Instincts
Trust your instincts, especially the voice of the Holy Spirit. If something feels off or makes you uncomfortable, trust those feelings and investigate further. Many believers are often blinded by kind words, nice outfits and attractive outward appearance. The Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of every man, allow him to help you. (1 Samuel 16:7)
3. Set Boundaries
Establish clear boundaries in relationships and learn to define your relationships. Communicate your limits and stand firm in enforcing them. Be assertive about what you will and won’t tolerate. Most manipulators avoid strong-willed people who know what they want.
4. Seek Support
Seeking support is not a sign of weakness; it is rather a sign of strength. Talk to trusted friends, family, or a therapist. Discussing your experiences can provide clarity and support in handling manipulative situations. Do not keep quiet suffering in silence.
5. Validate Your Feelings
Validate your own emotions and experiences. Don’t let the manipulator invalidate or dismiss your feelings. Give your experiences and emotions a voice.
6. Practice Self-care
Engage in activities that promote your well-being. Taking care of you physically, emotionally, and mentally can boost your confidence and resilience. Habits like journaling, reading, and gratitude help to boost your mental capacity.
7. Educate Yourself
Learn about manipulation tactics and psychological manipulation. Awareness equips you with the knowledge to recognize and counter these tactics. Do not be caught unaware at any time. Turn the tables around on the manipulator.
8. Improve Assertiveness
Practice assertive communication. Express your thoughts, needs, and boundaries clearly and confidently without being aggressive or passive. Learn to take your stand in a way that communicates that you’re confident and know what you want.
9. Reduce Contact
Limit or cut off contact with the manipulator, especially if the relationship is consistently toxic or damaging. Do not allow the relationship with a manipulator to linger for long. If you’re hopeful they will change, pray for them and ask God to change their heart.
10. Reflect and Learn
Reflect on patterns in your relationships. Identify red flags and learn from past experiences to prevent future manipulation. Victims of manipulation often find themselves caged by another manipulator if they don’t learn from their previous experience and make changes.
11. Seek Professional Help
Consider seeking help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide guidance, support, and strategies to navigate manipulative situations.
12. Build a Support Network
Surround yourself with supportive and trustworthy individuals who respect your boundaries and empower you.
13. Don’t underestimate the place of God
God loves us in ways beyond our imagination. Spending time with him regularly by studying the word and having a personal relationship with him will prevent being manipulated. He will give you vivid instructions and ideas to help you come out of the manipulative situation.
Breaking free from manipulation takes time and effort, but prioritizing your well-being and fostering healthier relationships is worth the journey. Trusting yourself and seeking assistance when needed are crucial steps toward regaining control and establishing healthier boundaries.
What Does The Bible Say About Manipulative Parents?
The Bible guides various aspects of family relationships and interactions, but it doesn’t explicitly mention “manipulative parents” as a specific term. However, some teachings address behaviours and attitudes that might resemble manipulation within the family.
1. The bible supports honouring your parents.
The Bible emphasizes honouring and respecting one’s parents (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2). However, this doesn’t mean condoning or submitting to manipulative or abusive behaviour.
2. Parents should Love and Respect their children.
The Bible encourages parents not to provoke their children to anger but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Similarly, children are advised to honour their parents and to obey them but also to not provoke them (Colossians 3:20-21).
3. Truth and Integrity is vital in parenting
Biblical teachings emphasize truthfulness, honesty, and integrity (Ephesians 4:25; Proverbs 12:22). Manipulative behaviour often involves deceit or distortion of truth, which contradicts these values.
3. Setting boundaries and preventing emotional blackmail
While the Bible promotes honouring parents, it also acknowledges the importance of setting healthy boundaries (Matthew 10:37). It’s essential to maintain respect while safeguarding oneself against harmful behaviours, including manipulation.
4. Seeking Wisdom and Guidance if you have manipulative parents.
Proverbs, in particular, offers guidance on wisdom, discernment, and seeking counsel from others (Proverbs 1:5; 12:15). Seeking advice from trusted mentors or spiritual leaders might provide insights into handling manipulative parental relationships.
5. God calls us to have unconditional love
The Bible teaches about love that is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:47). While relationships can be difficult, it encourages forgiveness and reconciliation when possible but also prioritizes self-care and healthy boundaries.
When dealing with manipulative behaviour from parents or anyone else, it’s essential to consider these biblical principles alongside your well-being. It’s okay to seek guidance from pastors, counsellors, or other trusted individuals to navigate challenging family scenarios while maintaining a balance between honouring parents and safeguarding yourself from manipulation or harm. You are not permitted to disrespect or dishonour your parents even when they are manipulative.
Bible Verses about Manipulation
While the Bible may not use the term “manipulation,” it does guide related topics such as deceit, integrity, and the use of one’s words. Here are 20 verses that address these aspects:
1. Proverbs 12:22 (NIV)
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”
2. Proverbs 26:2425 (NIV)
“Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbour deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts.”
3. Proverbs 14:25 (NIV)
“A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.”
4. Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)
“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
5. Proverbs 16:28 (NIV)
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
6. Colossians 3:9 (NIV)
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.”
7. Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)
“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
8. James 3:14 (NIV)
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.”
9. Proverbs 12:17 (NIV)
“An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.”
10. 1 Peter 2:1 (NIV)
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
11. Proverbs 26:18-19 (NIV)
“Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, ‘I was only joking!'”
12. Leviticus 19:11 (NIV)
“Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.”
13. Psalm 34:13 (NIV)
“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.”
14. Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)
“The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.”
15. Ephesians 4:14 (NIV)
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
16. Proverbs 11:9 (NIV)
“With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.”
17. Proverbs 20:17 (NIV)
“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.”
18. Colossians 2:8 (NIV)
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
19. Matthew 5:37 (NIV)
“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
20. James 4:11-12 (NIV)
“Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?”
Christianity is a religion of peace, love, kindness, and hope. God wants us to be kind to everyone around us but we should never allow anyone to manipulate us. We are to stand firm against extortion, manipulation and every form of lies. The Bible strongly condemns manipulating others for our selfish interests or benefits.