The Art of Influencing with Integrity: 10 Steps to Avoid Manipulation

The Art of Influencing with Integrity: 10 Steps to Avoid Manipulation

Everyone has influence.

On social media, some people's influence draws millions of viewers, while for others, only two tiny sets of eyes that happen to be looking at their father praying on his knees.

Influence is about people despite the term being robbed by the idea of a platform.

As Christians, we have a calling to be influential in our faith, spreading the love and truth of Christ to those around us.

But there is a dark-side to influence that creeps in the shadows of success: it goes by the insidious name of manipulation.

I'll be looking at a specific case of manipulation coming off of the release of the documentary "Shiny Happy People," which shined a light on Bill Gothard and his pseudo-cult.

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In our desire to make a positive impact on others and share our Christian values, it's important to navigate the delicate balance between influence and manipulation, because obviously we cannot seem to get it right.

While influence seeks to inspire, guide, and empower others, manipulation seeks to control and coerce.

This article will explore actionable steps to help cultivate healthy relationships while avoiding manipulative behavior.

🀝 Serve with a Selfless Heart

Step 1: Prioritize acts of service with genuine love and selflessness.

To be influential in your faith, serving others with a selfless heart is the most important thing.

In a cutthroat, individualistic, "what can you do for me" society, this can be difficult thing to do if you do in fact what to have influence.

But the goal is not to be known, it's to be influential.

Stop seeking personal gain or recognition.

Start meeting the needs of those around you without expecting anything in return.

Lead with a selfless heart and you will find others will begin paying attention.

πŸ€– Respect Individual Autonomy

Step 2: Engage in respectful dialogue and allow individuals to make decisions.

Influence should never involve coercion or disregarding the free will of others.

As Christians, you must respect the autonomy of people.

Engage in respectful dialogue that fosters understanding instead of pressuring or manipulating others to conform to your beliefs.

Because you're not always right.

You think you're always right.

β€œThe more a person needs to be right, the less certain he is.”
― Meir Ezra

πŸ‘€ Lead by Example

Step 3: Align our words and actions with the teachings of Christ.

Real influence comes from leading by example.

Give me a boss who I can watch and learn over listen and learn any day.

Living out your faith genuinely and transparently inspires others to pursue a deeper relationship with God.

I was on a call with a lady yesterday who was telling me about her daughter-in-law is not a Christian. "She won't come with me to any services, but she did tell me the other day she is watching me."

You might be the only Bible a person reads.

Are you worth reading?

⏱️ Trust in God's Timing and Plan

Step 4: Trust God, praying for wisdom and guidance.

Sometimes, you may feel a sense of urgency to influence others.

This is your fast-pass to manipulation.

Influence has no set timeline.

Seek God's wisdom and guidance through prayer, recognizing that His plans are more significant than your own.

God has perfect timing. You're just impatient.

πŸͺž Embrace Authenticity and Humility

Step 5: Cultivate a genuine and humble attitude in all interactions.

To be influential in your faith, you must embrace authenticity and humility.

This means you'll nee to take a hard look at your limitations, vulnerabilities, and mistakes.

I recommend writing them down. Being uncomfortable is good for you.

People will be more receptive to your influence when they see your genuine commitment to living out your faith despite your setbacks.

πŸ‡ Cultivate Inner Validation

Step 6: Seek validation and worth from our relationship with God.

Seeking external validation can lead to manipulative desires.

Your worth and value can only come from your creator: you, nor anybody else, has that right.

Nurture your relationship with Jesus.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5


Last Thoughts: As we strive to be influential in our faith, it's important to remember that authentic influence comes from a genuine heart aligned with the teachings of Christ.

By serving others selflessly, respecting their autonomy, leading by example, trusting in God's timing, and embracing authenticity and humility, we can positively impact others without resorting to manipulation.

Be the hands and feet of Jesus, spreading His love and truth with integrity and influence.