True Love Is Never Manipulative

Mark 10:21-23 NIV 
[21] Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” [22] At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. [23] Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

First of all, notice that Jesus clearly loved this young man. He looked at him and loved him. Yet, He let him walk away. He never tried to arm twist, or guilt him into staying back. He never tried to manipulate this man into becoming His disciple. He simply laid down the terms and let the young man choose his path.

So, ‘love’ need not be an excuse to manipulate and control people. ‘I love you’ should not be used to trap people in relationships they’d rather not be in; that feels more like a jail cell.

I believe it is important that no matter how much we claim to love an individual, we should allow them choose their path. We may not agree with their choice; we may think it’s a bad choice, and bad for them; but it’s their choice nevertheless. And, provided it does not infringe on other people’s rights, we should let them be.

Also let not love be confused with people-neediness. As much as Jesus wanted to save souls, He did not compromise Himself. We must never become so people-needy that we compromise ourselves. 

Secondly, notice that the rich young ruler did not try to pretend to be what he was not in order to fit into Jesus’ group. He was rather authentic about his preferences and his choice.
Of course, he really wanted to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I have no doubts about that. When Jesus laid down the terms for him, his face fell and he became very sad and disheartened. So it’s clear that he really wanted to be a part of Jesus’ disciples. Nevertheless, he walked away.

And, quite frankly, I seriously admire him for that.

To ignore who people are and their terms of association; to pretend to be what we are not so they can accept us, and just because we want something from them—that is deception and wickedness. When we act in this manner, we’re not walking in integrity. And we end up hurting others and compromising our own identity and destiny.

I personally think its unnecessary to pretend to be what you’re not just so other people can accept you.

Manipulative ‘love’ is toxic. It stifles personal freedom and deforms its victims. I’d rather walk away from such ‘love’.

So, I admire Jesus for letting someone He clearly loved walk away. But I also admire the rich young ruler for walking away rather than pretend to be what he was not.

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