Manipulation: Can you tell someone is lying?

The art of controlling or influencing by indirect, unfair, or deceptive means, especially to one’s own advantage – manipulation is condemned in Scripture. “Getting treasures by a lying tongue Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.” – Proverbs 21:6 (NKJV) Satan was the first manipulator. He was an expert at deception. God says, “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.” – Psalm 101:7. People who are not honest with others about their motives are liars.  “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.” – Ephesians 4:25 (NKJV)

“Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool. In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of wisdom.”

Proverbs 10:18-21 (NKJV)

Christians do good for others (James 4:17). We do not ridicule others (Isaiah 57:4). Rather, we are told to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). It is irrational to think we can manipulate others while being an encouragement to them at the same time. Deception and edification cannot coexist. Are we counselors of true of selfish sinners?

“He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.” –  

Proverbs 12:17-20 (NKJV)

Peacemakers are what God desires. Practicing deception and falsehood are from a sin-sick heart. Jesus says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” – Matthew 15:18-19 (NKJV)

All evil originates in the heart, the core of a person’s humanity. King Sau attempted to manipulate David and while fleeing from Saul, David wrote.

For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful matters Against the quiet ones in the land. They also opened their mouth wide against me, And said, “Aha, aha! Our eyes have seen it.” This You have seen, O LORD; Do not keep silence. O Lord, do not be far from me. Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, To my cause, my God and my Lord.

Psalm 35:20-23 (NKJV)

Tips to tell is someone is trying to manipulate you with their lies.

  1. Their motives seem self-serving.
  2. They try to get you to something out of Christian character
  3. They ridicule others
  4. They have difficulty controlling their speaking habits.
  5. Their deception does not lead to the good of others.

Manipulating types of people are consistently thinking of a plan to deceive the innocent. We must guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). God calls all such people to turn from their demonic attitudes. Meanwhile, we will be patient. We choose to have clear conscience. As Paul said, “This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”- Acts 24:16 (NKJV) As you and I grow into maturity we must grow into maturity (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Now let me tell you in all honesty. When I discover that I have been duped into thinking or doing by someone it gets me terribly angry. I feel just in a righteous anger. However, I must also be careful not to fall into temptation to say unkind things to my offender. Colossians 3:13-15 teaches me how to react to the one who has manipulated me.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Colossians 3:12-15 (NKJV)

God does not want evil return for evil. Christianity is not an eye-for-an-eye way of life. Your ministry must be one of honesty and integrity as you teach the gospel in love. Read 1 Thessalonians 2:3-8. After reading the Scriptures, it seems contrary to the nature of any child of God to practice the art of controlling or influencing by indirect, unfair, or deceptive means, especially to one’s own advantage. Love does not seek its own. (1 Corinthians 13:4). Nevertheless,

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”  Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)