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Control and Manipulation Series
By: Don MacIntyre

Part One
Origins and Effects
19 January 1997

A powerfully controversial subject. One that has been avoided for decades but at long last is having its covers pulled off by God himself. Truthfully we can find manipulation and control in any one of us and in almost all of our relationships. We might not understand some of what we do as being manipulation and control, but it is, and our ignorance of it need not continue. I'm going to state here something that may come as a shock to you but hear me out. Not all manipulation and control is evil. Any parent among us knows all too well that little children need someone to control them and teach them self-control, to discipline them and teach them self-discipline. Any employer here knows full well that new employees, or very young ones who have not been long in the work force must be motivated and directed.

Such motivation and direction are simply another form of manipulation and control that supervisers use for the furtherance of the company goal. These types of manipulation and control are not evil, they are quite proper, and are deemed proper because of the spirit or intent behind them. Evil is not intended. Selfish provision is not the motivation behind it. And that is how we can draw a line between truly evil manipulation and control and unintentional or permissible manipulation and control (if I may be so bold as to word it that way).

In any gathering of people attending a conference on manipulation and control like this we could quite probably divide them into four groups.

1. First there will be the victims of manipulation and control seeking solace and refuge and healing from spiritual abuse. Whose hearts are true and are here to try and understand what causes people to be manipulative and who want to be better equipped to minister to both victim and oppressor alike. To these I applaud, these are the valiant ones who have suffered much but who guarded their hearts and have drawn deeply from the waters of life at Christ's feet to comfort and carry them through their ordeal.

2. Second there will be some who are victims too but have allowed a root of bitterness to grow in the open sore of their abused spirit. They retaliated when they should have prayed, they avenged themselves when they should have allowed the crucifixion. They need help too, they need to ask forgiveness and seek God's mercy and need to extend the same to their persecutors.

3. Third, there will be the undisciplined who refuse to be accountable to anyone. They have a definition of manipulation and control that is just as perverted as the definition the oppressors have of authority. These are undisciplined, carnally minded, self-dependent, refuse to be in submission to anyone, and haven't yet learned that authority in the kingdom only comes to those who understand authority, and authority is only learned when under authority. They will be here to get more amunition to shoot at those they perceive as manipulators. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Under their tongues is the poison of asps. They spit venom and hatred. May God send the fire to bring them to repentance.

4. Then there is the forth group, the ones who really should be here, the ones who need the most help, the ones who for a variety of reasons are manipulative and controlling and either cannot see it or are excusing it and justifying it in the name of Order. Unfortunately, they are also the ones who will probably think they don't need this kind of conference and will undoubtably think the organizers are simply going to open a can of worms that will threaten the whole structure of religious order and organization. They are at least partly right. The whole structure of traditional religious order IS being threatened these days. And it NEEDS to feel threatened because for the most part it is out of God's order. Most christian assemblies have in them a power structure that more closely resembles a corporation or political regime than a family unit. Power and influence are derived from position rather than a love relationship. Fortunately Jesus is once again correcting the problem and is opening the eyes of all of us to the truth about manipulation and control, not only in the church, but also in our family relationships, and in the whole spectrum of our lives. When we understand the nature of the problem we are going to be better equipped to deal with it. Lets first learn where this evil comes from.

In the beginning...
I will submit to you that there isn't a one of us in this assembly that is innocent of one form of evil manipulation and control or another. We are born to it and learn it at a very very tender age. How many mothers here have ever given in to the incessant whining of your child? Do we recognize that this child has learned that it can manipulate and control mother to give it what its selfish little heart wants if it will only persist in its whining and pouting. And later on it will learn the subtlety of climbing into Daddy's lap and with her big blue eyes and sad little puppydog expression coerce Daddy into giving her what she wants. And still later on she will apply the same tactics upon her husband. Using her eyes and expressions to manipulate him. Using temper tantrums like she did as a child and persistent nagging like Delilah to get her own way. Or worse yet, using sexual favours to persuade her husband to bend to her will. I'm picking on women I know but I also speak the truth about this. And men are just as guilty. We learned young too. We can be just as stubborn. We can rant and rave and threaten and blow off steam and stomp around slamming doors and scowling and carry on ever so incredibly until we too get our own way. All this is evil. It MUST be repented of. It is soooo very wrong. And doubly wrong when we consider it is infectious, imparting to our children a destructive devil called manipulation and control that they learned from none other than us their parents!! When will the cycle be broken. Will we be the generation to break it? I hope and pray we are. And did you know that this same evil is even attempted with GOD? Attempting to make deals with God, manipulating Him in our prayers. EVEN asking Him to manipulate others for us?? I've heard these kinds of prayers. I've seen the attempts. It is rebellion. It is witchcraft. It is SIN!!! To continue to sow to the flesh will reap corruption.

The first recorded incidence of manipulation and control is found in Genesis. Satan desires to be a god. He wants a kingdom. He desires to be worshipped. He seizes the opportunity to manipulate and control Man into doing his evil bidding. He uses the carnal senses to accomplish his task because that is all he has as an avenue and it is still his only avenue. Satan can ONLY use the affections of our flesh to entice us. So he shows Eve something that attracts her eyes that she knows she cannot afford. You know what I mean. She could not afford to eat of that tree because to do so would cost her everything. She makes the same terrible mistake many folks still make. She reasons with the devil at the expense of her soul. She is attracted by that forbidden tree and rather than just simply obey God she allows her flesh to grow even more affectioned to it. And look at all the good reasons she accepts from Satan why she ought to have that tree. And Adam. Oh Adam thou son of God!! Adam is so hopelessly enamoured with her that she can "do no wrong" in his eyes and he stupidly consents to follow her suggestions. Love is blind truly, but needs not be so. Consider the tragic consequences that their sin has bestowed upon every man and woman born into this world since then!! May God cause every one of us to constantly bear in mind the awful fact that "Our actions bear eternal consequences", not only for us but also for our children and their children and so on!!! We have a duty to repent deeply DEEPLY and put to death this incessant cycle of "My will, My way, My agenda, Mine Mine Mine"

In later articles we shall look at:
Defining In-dependence, God-dependence, and inter-dependence.

Identifying the real intent behind manipulative words such as:
"touch not the Lord's anointed"
"submit even to their error and God will honor that"

Exploring the real meaning and context of scriptures such as:
"submit to those who have the rule over you"
"follow me as I follow Christ"

Studying the scriptural examples of manipulation and control.
Samson and Delilah.
Jezebel and Asa.

Studying the the right response to abusive leadership.
Saul and David

Part two
Spiritual Wickedness In High Places

By Don MacIntyre
08 February 1997

2 Corinthians 10
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ...For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.)

The Problem
We christians embarking on this new wave of revival sweeping our nations have before us a problem, a promise, and a condition. The problem is that we are at war. The enemy is subtle, experienced, vicious, and deeply entrenched. He has been busily building his strongholds throughout the highest places in our culture and social fabric for centuries. He has discovered countless distractions and strong inducements over the centuries that have successfully deceived millions. His greatest inducement to man has always been power. Power over other men. He knew its value and even offered it to the Christ in the wilderness. Christ refused him. Too many others have not. His greatest triumph has always been his successful infiltration into the lives of God's children, offering them the same temptations he offered the Christ. He targets them relentlessly and shows no sign of backing off. His desire is to destroy. If he cannot destroy he is just as pleased to oppress. Whatever ground he can gain he is pleased to capture, be that a little or a lot. He is just as pleased with apathy amongst christians as he can be. For in that apathy he knows they neither help God nor hinder him. His subtle infiltration into the church world has taken centuries to perfect and he is not about to surrender that high ground so easily. That is the overview of the problem.

To be more specific; There exists within the fishnet we call christianity, elements of teachings and traditions that are spiritually wicked and steadfastly held to by those in high places of authority within many christian organizations. And none of us are immune to the effects, and few are immune to its pull. The temptation to have spiritual power over another human being is tremendous. It can be tremendously constructive, and it can be tremendously destructive. Having such power to manipulate and control within the context of a local church is often excused on the grounds of convenience. It is far more convenient to silence the questioning of ones actions and motives than it is to address those questions transparently honest.

Too many who hold to power do so out of gross insecurity within themselves. They are so insecure that they cannot tolerate being a follower, and neither can they tolerate questions about their own lives. It disrupts that sense of security they crave. One sure distinguishing mark of an insecure leader is his sensitivity to questions about his ministry, or motives, or personal life. He will react defensively almost immediately. He will reply with scriptures aimed at strengthening his hold to power. In scripture "Touch not the Lord's anointed" was a heartfelt sympathy from David toward King Saul (whom God had rejected). From the mouth of an insecure leader in bondage to a spirit of manipulation that passage will become a spear thrown in desperation at any perceived threat to his security and power, just as Saul cast his spear at young David.

The Solution
This issue of control has to be addressed and not only in the high places of our christian circles but also in the not so high places of our individual lives. And thankfully we don't have a problem without solution. I'm sure we all recognize that this problem is even more widespread outside christendom than within it, but, I hope we also realize that until our own obedience is fulfilled we won't have any power to revenge all other disobedience. We must pull the sliver from our own eye first.

There is this promise made to us: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" We are by no means powerless to combat this evil. We have incredible promises from the God of the universe to help us out. Our strength is in Him. Our power to overcome is in the all cleansing blood of the Lamb. We can conquer if we will. The only variant is our will. Do we possess the courage to wilfully tangle with Satan on ground that he has held for so long? Including any such ground he may hold in ME?

Let me entice you with a picture of why it is so crucial that we do. There is revival hovering over many a city and town in this world right now. Yours may be one of them. You'll know He is hovering overhead because there will have been in recent months, perhaps over the last few years even, a continual barrage of special happenings. Ministries coming to town holding prayer gatherings. Special meetings preparing the church in your city. Special calls to repentance and seeking for more of God. An increasing number a prayer groups springing up. A new sound of unity among brethren. An increasing awareness of God's presence, and an increasing awareness of His will. All these signify God's handiwork in the hearts of believers. Yet for all that there still is no great harvest of souls happening and some people with insight will begin to question why. They will be wondering how it is that these weapons so powerful through God are not having any effect on the chains of darkness keeping your community seperated from God. They will be calling out for God to show them why just as did Joshua when the invincible army of God was defeated by the ragtag citizens from the village of Ai. The Lord told him, and He is telling us all today, "Oh Israel thou canst not stand before thine enemies until ye take away the accursed thing from among you."

The Condition
This principle of obedience preceding power is not done away in the new covenant. Christ told us that until the strong man is bound we cannot enter in and spoil his house. And so we see now the promise of our weapons being mighty through God is conditional. It hinges on our possessing these weapons of war honestly.

Ephesians 6:10
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

What is the present condition of your armour? And that of the spiritual gatekeepers of your community? Are those in positions of leadership really possessing this armour? Its one thing to possess the helmet of salvation but is it tarnished by the stains of unconfessed sin? Its one thing to have on a breastplate but is it of righteousness or hypocrisy? Are your loins girt about with truth or whitewashed lies? These are hard questions but they MUST be asked.

We have embarked on a road with no option of turning back. God has spoken to us all about 2Chronicles 7:14 and our need of repentance for wickednesses. Now He has taken the time to begin showing many what those wickednesses are that He requires repentance of. What shall we then say to these things? We have asked Him to expose the hidden things of darkness. We have begged Him to cleanse us and cleanse our land. Now when He begins to show us what has been going on hidden within the walls of the Holy City we feel frightened and hesitate to go through with Him and do something about it. May God help us all. How shall we conquer the enemy strongholds without when we cannot even find courage to battle him within?

Spiritual wickedness in high places must be dealt with BEFORE God will come in any great degree of power to any region including ours. Note what we read in Judges. Time and again the first thing that needed doing was to tear down the high places of false worship where innocent babies were burned. These places were being attended by God's people. They were worshipped by God's people. There were protected by God's people. And God would not come to them until Gideon tore them down and replaced them with a place of true worship. This pattern of requirement was not broken once in the entire old testament. Without exception God required Israel to tear down the high places of spiritual wickedness BEFORE he would bless the nation. (And in this regard the same thing will need doing in literal Israel before revival shall come there too)

We need to look at things from God's perspective to really understand His position. What would happen if God sent a thrilling wave of revival through your town tonight bringing five thousand new converts into the kingdom? Where would they go for further instruction and helpful guidance? Why they would go straight to the church building on the nearest cornerwouldn't they? And what would happen to them if that happened to be a church run by abusive leadership? I hear a reply, "Oh then they would come to our church and be safe?" Well I wonder about that. How truly safe would they be in any church in your town if the collective church leadership in your town had not the courage to deal transparently and honestly with their own sins and had spent considerable effort excusing the spiritual abuse they know full well is going on in another assembly? How effective are they going to be at fighting for the souls of others when they have neglected their own armour of God?

For example. If we have a man in a high place who is nothing less than a sheep beater. And to make matters worse he has been protected from public exposure by the local ministers and leadership in town who have not the courage to take him to task for it. Be sure of this one thing. They lack that courage because they themselves also lack the courage to face up to their own guilt of lesser degrees of spiritual abuses. The watchmen on the wall have refused to blow the trumpet and warn the people because in doing so they will also come under scrutiny and they know their own hands are defiled to some degree with innocent blood too. Because their own loins are girt about with lies and whitewash instead of truth and because they lack a true breastplate of righteousness, they are powerless to do anything about him. And so the cycle of violence will continue until an innocent third party; a least of the least of the families of Israel; a type of Gideon arises to shatter the darkness with the trumpet blast and raise the torches high to expose the whole thing.

We have before us the greatest opportunity for God-sent revival that this generation will ever see. We don't get this sort of grace very often. To allow it to pass by us, to allow it to pass by our unsaved loved ones and neighbours all because we would not humble ourselves and take ourselves to task over the sins within the camp that are exalting themselves against the revelation of God that our communities need... Well, to allow that to happen simply CANNOT be an option to any one of us.

May we genuinely search our hearts tonight. May we genuinely seek Him to intervene in the lives of those we know in positions of influence in the church who are possessed with any spiritual wickednesses. If we believe 2Chronicles 7:14 to be the recipe for revival that it truly is surely we must also know that until we repent of our wickednesses God will not come and heal our land.

Father, I pray in the name of Jesus. Forgive your people. Spare us O Lord. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to the abuse carried out in the name of religion. Forgive O Lord and help us to be as Gideon who cut down the high places and burned them. Grant us courage to take ourselves to task about this. Grant us courage to expose it in our midst. Grant us courage to deal properly and expediently with those we know who are unrepentant and continuing to abuse Your sheep. Father we beg you for mercy. Not mercy that overlooks these things, but mercy that will impart to us wisdom and strength to do what is right. Help us O God. We are desperately needy. Amen.

In prayerful seeking,
your brother,
Don MacIntyre
08 Feb. 1997

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