If we want something to get done, we typically lean toward persuasion to get what we want. Sometimes we will even employ power or manipulation. Either may accomplish our goal, but in the long-term, it will tend to erode us and cause us to become deeper entrenched in a cycle of force to overpower others.
Sure, sometimes this is seemingly so innocent. We may bribe our kids to get them to do their chores, or give us 10 minutes of peace and quiet. We may promise something in return for a favor. We may perform a certain way to get something from someone else. All of this is manipulative and relying on our status or position to control a particular person, situation or outcome.
I am so guilty.
I don’t know about you, but I have used many tactics to try to affect a desired outcome in many situations throughout my life. Each time, inevitably, though my desires may have been met for the time, I have had to pay a price. I have either sacrificed part of myself, my resources, my time that could have been spent serving others.
And there’s the key.
I could have been serving others.
Time and time again, we lean toward getting whatever we can from others. We ask, “What’s in it for me?” Instead, we should approach situations with an attitude of service and ask what we can do for someone else. When we live a life of service, we equip ourselves with compassion and gratitude. We provide relief to those who are suffering. We change lives. And most of all, we show God’s love in a tangible way.
We live in a hurting and broken world. Greed and selfishness will not repair lives, but grace and mercy and a little love go a long way.
Take time to look at those around you. Guard yourself against the temptation to use power and control to get what you want. See the needs, and use your gifts to bless others.
One day, you may wish someone would have done the same for you.