There seems to be a fine line between faith and manipulation. I have developed this thought just within the last five years or so, as I have been raising teenagers, dealing with grown siblings and people in general (and – what? – okay, keeping myself in check). While I may have faith that God will provide for me in His own way and in His own time, others may feel the sense of being owed, perhaps due to their belief in God. Yes, I must act on my behalf, but according to His word and by His grace.
I have seen the “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back” card played too many times, sadly, even within my own home. People express the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” or the Second Commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”; though often times with ‘tongue in cheek.’ Some people expect others to ‘do unto them’ and then will decide if it’s worth ‘doing unto others.’ Have these people ever experienced giving without expecting anything in return? When even a ‘thank you’ isn’t necessary? Isn’t that what we humans are going for in this lifetime? I would think so.
Often times I will feel slighted, used, manipulated. It is not a good feeling. Through faith I can disregard, or at least diminish, these feelings and I will find that these experiences only strengthen me and help to set me straight. I do not care to be a ‘user’ of the human spirit or enslave another fellow being out of obligation. I have asked God’s forgiveness too many times for the sin of doing just that. It is wrong to ‘manipulate’; to assume that it is because of the Glory of God that we are owed the things that we desire, even if it means taking advantage of others. God bless those that give, whether of their own free will and thinking or due to their position in life and society, thinking that they have no other choice. Let their choice be FAITH. I believe I will.
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