How should we respond to manipulative “friends”?
This post is going to be about the question at the top. I am going to confine the answer to this to those “friends” of ours who are always taking advantage of us, manipulating us to suit their own needs. I hope that none of us have that sort of friend, but whether you do or not, please tell me what you think is the best way to deal with this. I am going to attempt to answer this question by presenting a scenario and us ing that as a launch pad. I am also going to attempt to answer the question of whether or not we should have non-Christian friends, as these are much more likely to be manipulative than biblical Christians.
To start this let’s consider the following: One day at lunchtime, a friend of yours tells you that they forgot their lunch, and were hoping that you would share some of yours. You are happy to share. A few days later, the same thing happens, and a few days after that, it happens again. A pattern has started, and you are considering packing more food on a permanent basis. What would make you keep sharing, and what would make you stop sharing?
The first question to ask is: are they having a real need? In other words, are they really either forgetting their lunch or don’t have enough food? If the answer to this is yes, then we as Christians should continue to share, at the same time letting someone who can help them more permanently know.
If they don’t have a real need, the next question is: why are they asking you to share? The answer to this is probably that they have decided that your lunch tastes better or something of that sort.
The last thing to consider is: what are we going to do? The first thing is to gently let them know that you will not let them manipulate you any more, and then stand by your decision. Being nice to people doesn’t mean that we should let them walk all over us. We are to give to those who need it. Jesus himself said that he came to heal the sick, not the healthy.
Whether or not we can have non-Christian friends is a question that is asked because people are dragged down much easier than they are pulled up. This means that it is easier for someone to pull you away from Christ than for you to pull them to him. I think that the answer to this is simple. You can have non-Christian friends, but you should not make them your best friends that you do everything with.