“Relational Vampires: Controlling People”

Controlling People
There are some people that just seem to suck the life out of us. Some are endlessly needy; others complain. Some you can’t trust because they’re manipulative, or just hypocrites. We know we’re supposed to love them, but honestly, sometimes it’s just plain difficult. In this series, we’ll be putting a name to this type of person: Relational Vampires. We’ll recognize that these people are all around us draining our energy, and that it’s easy to fall under their spell and become vampires ourselves. Instead of running from or fighting with these vampires, though, we will learn how God can use us to bring love into their lives.
How do I love a controlling person?
Two weapons of a controlling person: Threats & Guilt
Three Things to Know
1. Know what you are called to do 2. Know when you are being controlled 3. Know when to draw the line in the sand Bottom Line: I’m free to love you when Jesus leads me
Further Conversation
1. On a scale of 1-10, how controlling was your home? Are you more a controller or a people-pleaser?
2. Why do you think some people are so controlling? What motivates for someone to allow themselves to be controlled?
3. Read Matthew 16:21-24 What motivated Peter? What do you think Peter feared? What surprises you about Jesus’ response?
4. How does knowing what we are called to do free us to love controlling people appropriately? What are you called to do?
5. What areas of your life do you try to have the most control over? What would you like to do differently?
6. What are some ways you can intentionally give God control?
7. Think of someone that you struggle to love because they are controlling. Without revealing who, how could Christ Church help you take a next step with Jesus and love this person?
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
Monday – Matthew 14:22-31
That’s impossible! We all can think of things we simply can’t or won’t do! My grandmother used to say that she would only fly in an airplane over “my dead body!” Ironically, when she passed away we had to fly her remains to her home state for burial. Following Jesus requires doing the impossible sometimes… like obediently loving someone who has hurt us or is controlling. Bitterness or resentment creep in, and love seems as impossible as walking on water. This passage lets us learn from Peter’s faith and fall. If we let Jesus lead, keeping our eyes fixed on him, the impossible is possible. Who do you need to love appropriately, compassionately, and sacrificially? Focus on Jesus and take your next step towards him.
Pray: LORD Jesus, sometimes what you require seems impossible. Help me fix my eyes on you and love all others like you love me!
Tuesday – Psalm 23
Letting God lead isn’t always easy. Some paths are painful. We often read this Psalm in moments of our greatest grief, such as at the funeral of a loved one. God will sometimes lead us through a dark valley. When has God led you places that you didn’t want to go? We can become reluctant and fearful. We dig in our heals or grow angry at God. But somehow, we must trust our Shepherd. Often the path to the peaceful stream or green meadow is through the dark valley. We could miss out on God’s great blessing for us if we won’t follow God through the pain, grief, or dark. How have your grown from times of difficulty? How has God brought blessing from places of pain? Remind yourself today of God’s love for you, and allow this love to refresh and encourage you to let God lead.
Pray: Good Shepherd, help me remember the joy and peace you bring in the light so that I will more fully trust you in the dark.
Wednesday – Isaiah 55:8-9
Have you ever wondered why they shut a door between the pilot and passengers on a commercial airplane? Safety is a concern, I’m sure. But it probably has far more to do with “back seat drivers”! Can you imagine how many people, all who do not know how to fly, would be trying to judge or direct the pilot’s behavior. We do the same with God. We try to judge God’s leading or control God’s actions. But God’s ways are not our ways. God knows better. How can you trust God to lead today…without back seat driving?
Pray: Almighty God, you know all thing…and I do not. Forgive me for second-guessing your plan. I will trust you to lead today.
Thursday – Psalm 37:1-5
Have you every had an itch you just couldn’t scratch? For a moment, its all I can think about. The agony builds and builds. And then suddenly, its gone. Did the itch disappear? No, not necessarily. Somehow I started thinking about something else that took my mind off the itch. Controlling people can be like an itch. They demand our attention. They shame and threaten. But if we will only move our attention to trusting God, we could quiet the controller and learn to love them appropriately. If we would only commit everything to God, then the evil of another we have little lasting influence on us. What itch is occupying your mind and heart? Whose voice is demanding your attention? How can you choose to trust in the Lord and do good today?
Pray: Heavenly Father, please help my only trust your voice. Even as others demand my attention, may I fix my thoughts on you.
Friday – John 21:15-25
But what about him? Has comparison ever captured you? Peter just had an intimate moment of restoration with the resurrected Jesus. Think about that for just a second. Peter betrayed Jesus. Jesus rose from the grave and now just had a beautiful moment of forgiving and restoring Peter. What a mountaintop experience! Then suddenly, like a dog distracted by a squirrel, Peter quickly shifts his attention from the risen LORD to comparing himself to a fellow disciple. Comparison captures our minds and heart, robbing us of intimacy with Jesus. We wander by wondering about others instead of letting Jesus lead us and trusting his love. Where has comparison captured your attention? As forgiveness and allow Jesus to lead you. Where is Jesus taking you…not others…today?
Pray: LORD Jesus, I’m sorry for how often I wonder about others instead of trusting in you. Lead me, I am yours today.
Saturday – Galatians 5:16-26
Loving a controlling person can be a challenge. It requires being constantly on guard…remembering your call and refusing to be pulled from it. But the hardest controller to love is yourself. We want to be God, deciding what is best for us…then to allow the Spirit to lead us into what is good, right, and holy. Who is in control of you today? Whose lead have you followed this week? As we prepare to gather together for worship tomorrow, may we trust in the leading of the Spirit. May our lives bear witness to the Spirit’s goodness!
Pray: Loving God, may I bear the fruits of the Spirit as I follow the lead of the Spirit. I am all yours today, tomorrow, and for eternity!