Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8 NIV
When trouble comes–for many–they discover their vulnerabilities– and then others take advantage of the situation, manipulating those who are vulnerable and not thinking clearly. For the Believer, we are told that when events occur in our life that test our mettle–we should welcome it–and discover just how strong we are and incapable of being manipulated by those who would attempt to do it.
How do we recognize the manipulators? That’s easy–they smile in our face, telling us anything we want to hear, attempt to explain away any negatives about them or a current situation, and then they convince us–for a price–they can make things better. The price they exact from the vulnerable depends upon the situation at hand.
For those who proclaim they have great business acumen–listen carefully and then do your research. Are they that great and who is saying so? Is it just them or does the entire business community confirm their greatness? How did they achieve their wealth? Were they born into it or did they work–using sweat equity–to accomplish their achievements? Did they take advantage of legal loopholes to get out of paying debts–leaving others destitute and broken? Are they selling a bill of goods or do they live by what they proclaim? Is there any documented proof of what they claim?
The double-minded–who can’t make up their minds about what they believe or what they want–are unstable in all their ways. How do we know? When a person proclaims one thing–one minute and then ten minutes later–change their position, they demonstrate their instability because they have not determined one course of action, but are easily influenced to travel any path that appears to get them where they want to go. And as they go–down one merry path into another–they are always plotting–ready to manipulate any losers who dare to believe them.
The greatest losers at the hand of a master manipulator are those who buy into the rhetoric of greatness and hope for things that are literally not possible. Many women have been seduced into relationships by master manipulators to discover later, they were manipulated into a situation because of their own vulnerability.
We divulge our vulnerabilities when we are needy, desperate, and frustrated with our lot in life–without Jesus in our lives. When a smooth-talker comes along who appears to understand us and offer us false hope–we grab at it–thinking we’ve finally found what we need. Unfortunately, by the time we’ve paid the price–giving into what the manipulator wants us to do–it’s too late and the time cannot be recovered nor the trust we misplaced in people.
How do we avoid being manipulated? We trust in the Lord and seek Him for wisdom in all we do. We don’t listen to the smooth talkers, the ones who can read us like a transparent book cover–we investigate and research–before placing our trust in any person. We dare to look at ourselves and see us for who we really are and plan to change our lives based upon the guidance of The Lord. If we need an education to get the job we want–we go back to school–shedding the anger and frustration from past lost opportunities and make the most of the new ones.
We don’t allow anyone to play on our weaknesses because we work not to display them, so others won’t know, by drawing strength from our loving God. With Jesus on our side–He will alert us to anyone attempting to manipulate us.