Thursday, June 1, 2017

Playing the Room

As soon as I walked into the doctor's waiting room area, I heard his voice.  Apparently, there was a problem with his co-pay and he was $2 short.   He had no money and would not have any until Friday and it was Wednesday.  The staff behind the glass window were in a dither and everyone in the waiting room seemed embarrassed midst the uproar.  If it had been me, I would have tried to handle it without the whole room knowing about it.  But, this guy was working the room.  He was trying to get what he needed by shaming the office staff or by getting someone who was waiting to come forward with the money.  He was a master at playing the room and it worked.  Someone came up and gave him the money which set him off about the fact that there were still a few good people in the world.  Obviously, all the rest of us who had done nothing were not in that group.
He was a practiced manipulator.  He knew how to get what he wanted.  Recognizing the manipulators around us is not such a hard thing to do.  Most of us have at one time or another done some of it ourselves.  We know what it looks like and how it feels.  At the core of manipulative behavior is a desire to get our own way by taking advantage of someone else.  Manipulative behavior expresses a willingness to exploit another person for personal gain.  When we do it what we are declaring is that it is all about me.
Manipulative behavior is a far cry from Jesus telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Actually, it is an indication that we have no real regard for those who share life with us.  It always means that someone else's needs have been pushed aside for the sake of our own.  No love for another is being expressed when we enter into the manipulative mode of dealing with the people around us.   All it really does is undermind every relationship that touches our life. 

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