Years ago, I was struck by an author who gave two definitions that made me think about my own actions and character. Here they are for you consideration. A person who MANIPULATES is working hard to get people to do what he wants for his own interests. A person who PERSUADES others is working passionately to help others be and do what will be good for everyone concerned…not for himself…but to accomplish a mission or project for the good of the whole. Stay away from manipulators. They will destroy you. I have been maimed by those who seek for themselves and will say or do anything to get glory for themselves. Have you?
I am reminded of this as I read the next passage in John. Jesus points out these differences to the leaders of the synagogue as he teaches with authority and authenticity like they have never seen or heard before, in this way with pure Truth in the person of Jesus, the Messiah. People are drawn to Truth and Authenticity. In fact people today are still drawn to and crave what is REAL.
John 7, The Message
Could It Be the Messiah?
14-15 With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: “How does he know so much without being schooled?”
16-19 Jesus said, “I didn’t make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it’s from God or whether I’m making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn’t tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn’t it, who gave you God’s Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?”
20 The crowd said, “You’re crazy! Who’s trying to kill you? You’re demon-possessed.”
21-24 Jesus said, “I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you’re still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I’m up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it’s the Sabbath. You do this in order to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man’s whole body well on the Sabbath? Don’t be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”
25-27 That’s when some of the people of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this the one they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from.”
28-29 That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, “Yes, you think you know me and where I’m from, but that’s not where I’m from. I didn’t set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don’t know him at all. I come from him—that’s how I know him. He sent me here.”
There’s more to this story…tomorrow. In the meantime what jumps out to me today is what Jesus seemingly cries out to all of us today, “Use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.”
Dear Heavenly Father, Continue to speak to us through Your Holy Spirit that lives in us, to seek Truth in all situations, in all the details of this life. Help us to present truth to others because of Your guiding and leading us. Help us to use our heads and our hearts by giving us wisdom, insight and understanding. And most of all keep us from manipulating or causing pain to anyone. Keep us focused and alert to those to try to manipulate us into following them instead of You. In Jesus Name, Amen