The Manipulation Game

Jesus delivers a subtle warning in the Sermon on the Mount about the danger of manipulation. Look at Luke 6:32-33: "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that..."

If you do good to get something good you are involved in manipulation.

So, if your parental discipline is primarily designed to make things at home go more smoothly, you are doing good to get good. The rich young man in Matthew 19 had outwardly kept the commandments because he saw the value of being good. Most likely, his parents were quite pleased with him. But when he was asked to do something he did not think was good for him, he walked away from the door of heaven.

If your children obey you because it makes their lives, and yours, better, they have missed the point of obedience. This young man in Matthew was greatly blessed by following the instruction of his parents. But in the end he was only doing good to get good. Don’t play the manipulation game with your children.

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