According to experts, manipulation is the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize control over another human being.
It’s important to distinguish between healthy persuasion and psychological manipulation. Healthy persuasion seeks to influence someone to do or believe something that’s for their benefit. Manipulation seeks to influence someone to do or believe something that’s not for their benefit, but for the benefit of the manipulator.
Was Paul of Tarsus a manipulator? Not at all. He was certainly persuasive and employed savvy, socio-rhetorical methods in his letters to influence his readers. The motivation, however, was always for their benefit.
Consider Paul’s letter to Philemon. It’s one massive hint. Read it in a contemporary translation and watch his method. It’s a piece of savvy persuasion, not manipulation. When Jesus told His disciples to be “as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves,” He was talking about savvy persuasion, not manipulation.
Manipulation influences people to make decisions they’ll regret. Healthy persuasion influences people to make decisions they won’t regret. Get clear on the difference, and learn the art of healthy, savvy persuasion. As a follower of Jesus, you are called to influence others to know Him — both the lost and the saved.
Update on My Titan Collectible
My cover designer and I are working on the design for my 800-page, over-sized titan called There Must Be More. I consider this book to be more radical than Pagan Christianity and for a much wider audience. God willing, I hope to show you the cover soon, and we’ll start taking pre-orders in July. We will only print between 1,000 – 3,000 copies and it will never be printed again. So stay on my email list so you don’t miss the opportunity to get your own copy. It will be quite a souvenir.