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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « What is Church? A Quote | Who I Am vs. Who I Choose to Be »

    Is a Controlling, Manipulative, Passive-Aggressive Christian an Oxymoron?

    If you are someone who exhibits chronic controlling, manipulative, or passive-aggressive behaviors, is it possible for you to be a Christian? I do not have the answer, only thoughts for pondering.


    1.   A chronic controller is always seeking to bend or force the will of other people to their own. Even if for well-intended purposes, this is not even something God does, though He alone is the sole authority worthy to do so. 


    In behaving this way towards others then, it is not only a lack of genuine love towards others and extreme selfishness on the part of the controller, but also a way to play God.


    2.   A chronic controller is so wrapped up in what they want, how they think life should go, and how other people should live, it seems impossible they could ever willingly, humbly, submit to God’s will and desires for their life (which is what being a Christian is all about). How can one claim to love God but refuse to give themselves to Him?


    3.   A chronic controller is a chronic liar. Refusing to be upfront and honest, they prefer playing mind games, being unreliable, and telling outright lies or sly, backhanded “compliments”. Many times they want to look good while doing bad. Masks are not a healthy part of a Christian walk. Read all of Matthew 23. Here is an excerpt:

    "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." (Matt. 23:27-28)


    4.   Playing the martyr or victim to give excuses for bad behavior (denying responsibility) or getting undue attention is part of 3’s lying, but it also underlines another issue. Many times the Bible highlights the need for Christians to NOT seek attention. Some examples include: Matthew 6:1-18 (lists 3 different examples), Luke 14: 7-11.


    5.   Other hallmarks of controlling, manipulative, and passive-aggressive behaviors include denial, revenge, self-righteousness, self-justification, insults, talking behind a person’s back but never to them, pouting, the silent treatment, sabotage, resentment, hostility, holding on to anger (never dealing with it), and avoiding answering questions. (Lev. 19:18, and a host of others. Do web searches on “self-righteousness, Bible”; “anger, Bible”; and “disputes between believers, Bible”)


    Obviously, NONE of these behaviors are acceptable to God.


    The great news is, you can be free of all this if you so choose. It isn’t easy, and it may take some time. I do not believe in a “simple prayer of faith” (that isn’t in the Bible, by the way), but Jesus outlines in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) how to follow Him (I’ll have a post on that soon).


    “But God does not inspire an awaking just so that we can see who we are — the knowledge is given to inspire transformation. God is light, but he doesn't shine his searing rays into our life just to expose our ugliness and sin. His light, like the sun coaxing new life out of seeds, seeks change. And this is what happened to Eustace the Dragon, whose awakening preceded encounter.

    That night, a lion came to him and told him to undress. Eustace began to scratch at his skin, and it slipped off like a banana peel. As sweet as it was to be free of that scaly skin, he quickly discovered that beneath the top layer, there were more and more layers.

    Anyone who has begun to try to break free of sinful patterns knows how discouraging this process can be. I often feel like I've conquered a vice in one area of my life only to see a fresh manifestation of that same vice in another. Like Eustace, I can begin to peel away layers but I cannot "undress myself" completely.

    Here's Eustace, describing his encounter with the lion:

    Then the lion said — but I don't know if it spoke — "You will have to let me undress you." I was afraid of his claws, but I can tell you, I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.... That very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I'd ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.

    It would be nice and fairly nearly true to say that "from that time forth Eustace was a different boy." To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.”  (C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)”    (Becoming Undragoned , Jenny Schroedel , 2007, http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001542.cfm)


    Information on controlling, manipulative, and passive-aggressive behaviors taken from:





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