Everyone, including you, is manipulative.
It’s just the way we are.
But, is that bad?
A pastor comments to a church member how impressed he is with the member’s biblical knowledge and asks the member to volunteer to lead a Bible study class. A husband suggests to his wife what a wonderful cook she is and asks if she would grill sirloin steaks on a night he would ordinarily cook. A boss tells one of her employees she is the best writer in an attempt to convince her to take on additional writing assignments.
Were any of these bad? Did anyone lie? Was anyone harmed?
Probably not, but all were manipulated.
Importance of Knowing Manipulation
Many people think the intensity of manipulation has risen with the continued increase in technology. In the past, the used car salesmen, the resort timeshare presentation, and the guy with the oil well that’s just about to strike it rich were the examples of extreme manipulation.
But today, they pale in comparison to the stream of information arriving over our phones, iPads, and laptops attempting to sell us things we do not need and to act on things we don’t need to do.
We just happen to look at blue suede shoes online out of curiosity and are then bombarded with advertisements about blue suede shoes everywhere we go on the internet.
This continues until we search for flashlights online, and then the blue suede shoe ads disappear and are replaced with advertisements for flashlights. We buy one self-help book and the next day our inbox is full of ads for other self-help books of which the “web” decided we need.
All social media sites have algorithms that determine how and when we are to be manipulated. And there is very little we can do about it.
But it’s not just social media. Television manipulates us with multiple shopping channels to choose from so we can buy the latest trendy products all from the comfort of our living room chair.
And it’s not just purchasing products. We get news from the extreme left and right organizations that manipulate us into getting angry over what we are told to get angry about and excited about what we are told to be excited about.
Our primary protection from manipulation is through awareness. Five questions to ask that help determine if you are being manipulated are:
- Start with asking if you are being manipulated.
- Is what you are being sold new or an updated version of something you already have? If so, is the new better than the old?
- Is what you are being sold a benefit to anyone (other than the person selling)? If so, who and why?
- Is anyone excited about this product other than the manufacturer or paid salespeople?
- Is what I’m being sold in my best interest?
Matthew 7:15 says.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
The Bible teaches us to be aware of people who want to manipulate you for their own selfish purposes.
Recognizing we are all manipulated daily helps understand how to recognize the end purpose of manipulation and be ready to accept or reject it.