I. Controlling People Know What Strings to Pull
Controllers like to pull people’s strings to make them move. Instead of dangling like strings from a branch, Jesus invites us to live as branches as we draw upon Him, the vine. In so doing, we’ll bear good fruit. Do you see the difference? Strings are flimsy but a vine is strong. But people tend to come with strings attached. The question is, who pulls those strings?
When someone knows what strings to pull to get their way with you, then maybe they have too much control over your life. If they know that pushing certain buttons makes you jump, they’ll just keep pushing them until they drive you mad.
There’s a word for that. It’s called “emotional manipulation,” which is a form of abuse. Abusers take advantage of needy people who are desperate for affirmation. With a smile for a lure and a hug to reassure, they draw their little “fish” into a cozy little nest.
The “s” inside the nest stands for “security.” If your security is in man, then the “s” will fall out of the nest, leaving you with nothing but a net.
It doesn’t feel like a net, though, until you realizing that you’re gagging. Then you see that the relationship is not as nearly as strong as it first appeared to be. The flimsy threads have become a trap for you, because to please the person you must follow their rules. Like a robot, when they pull your strings you must obey.
II. Pulled Strings are Tied to Fear
When people strings get pulled, they often have knee jerk reactions. Such reactions may come in the form of an automatic “I’m sorry” which pops out of one’s mouth before the other can explode. Knee jerk reactions usually cause more harm than good, however. It’s like throwing grease on a fire, because such reactions spring from fear:
Fear of what the person thinks;
Fear of what they’ll do;
Fear of any and all repercussions resulting from their anger (repercussions the Grim Reaper cannot cushion).
Fear attracts more fear and makes anger escalate. People try to placate anger, thinking they can make it stop. But it simply doesn’t work that way.
III. The Fear of Man says “Man Will Save Me,” Breeding Insecurity
The fear of man lays a snare (Proverbs 29:25). When we look to people to make us feel secure, we put way too much pressure on them to provide for us.
There’s an old country song where a man pleads with a woman, “I’ve got to know if your sweet love is going to save me.”
Is he kidding? God’s word is clear: no mere human love can save us. Salvation comes from God alone, in the form of His only Son Jesus Christ whose blood shed on a cross paid for our sins to be forgiven. He didn’t come to pull our strings or push our buttons. His goal was not to manipulate us into obeying God’s laws in order that we might somehow earn our way into heaven. On the contrary, He became THE bridge that draws us near to God. He didn’t come to take from us but to give us abundant life (John 10:10)
Instead of commanding us to, “Do God’s will or else,” he invites us to abide in Him so we might bear much fruit: the fruit of His grace. (John 15:1-5; Ephesians 2:1-9; Galatians 5:22-23).
Isn’t it time we as believers found our identity in Him instead of looking to man to tell us who we are?