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Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" ... Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. —Genesis 25:29-33

We are told that Jacob manipulated Esau into surrendering his birthright. Esau was the elder, and that meant he would inherit double what Jacob would receive. We are all like Jacob. You say, "Not me." Yet, we are all manipulators. There are two kinds: there's the "top dog" or the passive manipulator, the person who's very quiet and achieves his aim by pouting or by just saying a word here and there to get their own way. If a person manipulates you into doing something, you really only have yourself to blame, because nobody can be manipulated unless they acquiesce. So if you manipulate me, it's because I have allowed you to do it.

There is an exception to the manipulating person: Jesus Christ never manipulates us to achieve His end or purpose. He never treats us as if we are mere objects. He always treats us with dignity, as people. Perhaps people have pushed you around and have taken advantage of you over the years to such an extent that it is impossible for you to conceive what it would be like to be treated with dignity.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, is always a gentleman. The Holy Spirit will never manipulate; what He does is to apply the Word as it is in the Bible. When we hear His voice, suddenly it dawns on us, and we begin to see that God is making sense in our lives. We would be fools to reject Him.

When Jesus died on the cross, He died for all the manipulators of the world. Perhaps you are reading this as one who has given in to manipulation, and you are so ashamed. Maybe you have manipulated someone else. Jesus took the guilt of your sins on the cross and promises a new beginning. The blood of Jesus will wash away all your sins. God promises you a home in heaven; your past is forgotten. This God will treat you with dignity. He will not manipulate you.

Excerpted from All's Well That Ends Well (Authentic Media, 2005).

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