Sometimes God will get us thinking on a topic through an experience that we have; this happens to me quite often. Recently, I have been thinking about fear and control and how they are related. Everyone struggles with fear yet not everyone manifests that fear through control but when they do it can be obvious and at other times disguised as something else. Where does your control issue come from? Fear? Pride? Rejection? Something else perhaps.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines control as he or that which restrains. Also, to keep under check, to restrain or to govern or overpower. Wow, those are harsh words. God does not control us; in fact; He gives us the free will to make choices that lead to life or death, and yet so many people feel they have the right to control another human being.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deut 30:19 NLT
In my opinion, it takes a lot of arrogance to think you can do something God does not do and does not allow. He tells us to be self-controlled and patient. Never does God tell us to enslave another person to our will! Never! When an individual attempts to control another it reveals something about their own character, they too are in bondage as they try to subject another to bondage.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2Pe 2:19 KJV
People, especially shepherds of God’s people, have no business dictating to another of God’s people what they should do. There is a godly counsel that gives insight to another so they can make their own choice but to do it for them is binding them from their own will.
Control is a form of witchcraft because anytime we try to get another person to yield to our will by any means other than a request, we are in a sense witching them. Witches use spells and incantations to gain control over another person. People use threats, intimidation, false prophecies, gossip, and manipulation to control people. There is little difference in casting spells and manipulation when it is to get another to do what you will them to do. Witchcraft is sin and is considered the same as rebellion (1Sa 15:23).
Causes of Control
Fear and pride are two of the most common reasons people will control another human being. Some people who control do not start out intentionally controlling but end up doing so because they are operating in soul wounds. These wounds are likely from betrayal and rejection. When a person is hurt often enough, they become fearful of being hurt again. A wall of control over one’s soul appears to them as their best defense from future wounding.
There are a variety of reasons why someone desires to control the outcome of another’s choices. No matter the reason someone controls another it is for their own personal gain.
Apostle Paul encountered a controller by the name of Bar-Jesus; a Jew, a sorcerer, and a false prophet. This controller tried to change the outcome of God’s plan for the name of Jesus Christ to be taken to a Roman deputy, an official of the Roman guard. When Paul found out about this sorcerer’s plan in seeking to turn this deputy or proconsul away from the faith, he rebuked him.
9 Then Saul, who also [is called] Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, [you] son of the devil, [you] enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 "And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord [is] upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord. - Act 13:9-12 NKJV
To control another person’s through any means is a perversion of the gift of free will that God intends for all. Even though one may believe what they are doing is for the good of the person or people they are controlling it is still against God’s will. If control of another was a biblical truth then every time God saw us going in the wrong direction, He would make a way to turn us around. God has the power to overturn every decision we ever make, even before we make them because He knows our thoughts and yet He loves us enough to let us fail. Whenever we attempt to do a thing and are not successful, we stand to learn something from the thing we didn’t accomplish. When we learn, we grow and mature.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 2Pe 1:5-8 NLT
We have an obligation to control our selves and nobody else. As a matter of fact, the word “control” is not even in the Bible! That’s right, not there. Self-control can be found but not control. When we try to control someone, we are trying to gain mastery over them. Some words Thesaurus.com uses for the word control are authority, discipline, domination, force, government, management, regulation, restriction, rule, containment, and even subjection!
The Bible uses the word discipline in Job 36:10 from the Hebrew word muwcar and it means to instruct, correct, chasten, check, bond, discipline, doctrine, and rebuke. None of these words represent any form of control against another’s will; discipline and correction yes, control no.
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: - 2Ti 3:16 KJV
Correction using biblical instruction is a good thing and is encouraged, but it is not control unless someone is trying to use God’s word to gain mastery over another’s soul. Control invites a spirit of witchcraft. The times when the Bible uses the word “chasten,” it is used to teach a person, instruct them in the way to go or correct them via discipline. Again, not control.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing correction to another’s direction; it is encouraged to do so biblically. However, when we go against God’s direction and try to force a person to yield to our will by telling a vulnerable person what to do, where to go, how to dress, who to marry and so forth we are on a slippery slope; one that God will have to judge.
If a shepherd of God’s people, a minister, pastor, preacher, apostle or the likes uses control to keep his/her church in tact, they are in danger of losing all that God has given them charge over. If an individual is controlled long enough, they will likely rebel against it and go as far in the other direction as is possible.
Grace and law are God’s way and they equal love. To be self-controlled and to control one’s own soul is also a godly character, anything outside of this is against God and prideful. He gives more grace to the humble but resists the proud.
Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ I confess the sins of fear and control. I admit that I am struggling in these areas because of previous relational problems that have caused me to distrust and fear other people and the chance they may hurt me again. I know You give us all the freedom of choice, life or death, patience or control. I confess that sometimes I am unable to wait for another to make the right choice and I have manipulated people at times to get them to do as I wish. Help me today to make healthy choices. Help to be healed in my emotions so that they cannot have the power over me that they have had in the past. In Jesus name, Amen