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Benjamin Franklin Effect III

by on May 21, 2014

When we speak well of people and treat them well we begin to like them more. When we speak ill of people and treat them ill we begin to dislike them more. That is not manipulation – that is understanding of and obedience to the Scripture.

Motive is the key factor. Is the motive to bless and heal or is the motive to control and/or to derive some social or political advantage?

Do behaviors determine attitudes or do attitudes determine behaviors? In fact, both are true. Frequently, however, behaviors come first. When we treat people well our attitudes toward them will improve.

This is a common approach in counseling. If a married couple is struggling with their relationship, getting them to treat each other well is frequently the key to beginning a change in relationship. Actually, this typically works in any relationship, not only in marriage. It is always right to do right, no matter how you feel. Doing right typically improves feelings.

Does this always work? No, it does not always work. There are people who are difficult to work with. Either they are evil in their heart or they have been hurt or they have been led to believe that they are more important than anyone else. These people must be handled gently but firmly so they can see themselves for who they are and can begin to heal. We will treat them well but we will also hold them accountable until appropriate changes are evident.

These people are the most likely ones to use the BF Effect on you. Their motive is control. They are willing to use “nice” methods to pull you into their orbit. If you submit, you are a “good person.” If you do not submit to their controls, they will talk badly to you and about you. They have the power to give or withhold approval and thus to control people in a way that is not Christian. Unfortunately, these types are powerful and must be avoided if peace and unity are to be experienced. Seldom is there enough wisdom and strength in a community to help these people find healing – healing for which they are not seeking – healing they do not know they need.

The Bible way is best. Jesus’ way is best. Search for and stand for the truth. The truth will set you free – free from control and free from controlling. We do not need to stoop to manipulation. We can search for and love the truth and we can live it and teach it.

Meanwhile, be careful to not be pulled into an orbit that is not Christian. God has promised to bless His word, not our politics.

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