A manipulator carefully studies his prey. He continually probes and prods your disciple looking for a weak spot. The manipulator then uses this weak spot as a point of leverage to control your disciple. It does not matter how many strengths your disciple has, it takes only one point of vulnerability for a manipulator to take him down.
A common vulnerability is shame. Shame is a painful emotion caused by the loss of: innocence, reputation, or self-respect. This shame may be private, of which only your disciple is aware, or his shame may be public of which everyone is aware, either way shame makes cowards of us all. The manipulator discovers this shame and then uses it to control his victim. I have even seen manipulators draw a person into a sinful act into order to establish shame as a control point in his victim.
The good news of Jesus deals directly with shame. The cross removes all shame, whether private or public. No matter the decree of shame in the life of your disciple the grace of the gospel goes even deeper. Shame has a powerful attraction that draws your disciple to fixate on his own shame. As a disciple maker you want to point the inward eyes of your disciple upon Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 states:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
- Shame if one of the most powerful dark forces in your disciple’s life. Expect aversion and push back.
- Shame casts a long shadow. Shame may come from your disciple’s childhood or as recent as yesterday.
- Unless your disciple confronts his shame he will be vulnerable to any manipulator.