You’ve known them, I’m sure. They are often loud and brash. Verbal bullies. They have learned they can get their way through strong talk. Some people like this will lace their speech with profanities. They often either intimidate people or finally wear them down. Some people deal with them by always giving in. "I don’t want a fight. I would rather just do what she wants and get this over with." Yeah. Exactly what such people want.
There are others who are not necessarily loud or brash. But–they can be curt and abrupt. They have a way of talking to others that is almost jarring. You may see a wife or husband come along afterwards and attempt to sweep up the pieces. "Yes, he feels very passionate about this. I hope he didn’t come across too strong. He just feels deeply that the Lord wants…" (It’s funny how we use the Lord’s name at times after such incidents. Hmmmm.)
So often these people seem to be about control. Whether loud and brash or curt and abrupt, he wants people to do things his way. In his view, his way is reasonable and makes perfect sense. Besides that, it is what ought to be done. Control.
There is another kind of control freak. This is the person who attempts to get people to commit themselves while she sits back and carefully observes. She may respond to people with complete silence. Do you know people like this?
- You pour out your heart about a particular issue and then you are met with complete silence the person you are talking with.
- You express deep concerns about a situation and you get no response at all.
- You share a long held dream with a person and then he changes the subject.
In other words, you make yourself vulnerable and then you are met with silence. The other person refuses to commit herself. As a result, you may feel silly, exposed, and awkward.
Very often these people are also attempting to control. They are what I call "benevolent controllers." (Not original). They are not trying to run ov er people or crush them to get what they want. In fact, they may never utter a harsh word. Instead, they smile as they manipulate conversations. They sit silently after you have poured out your heart to them. They carefully and meticulously monitor how much information they release to you about themselves. It is still about control. This controller may be smiling, however.
Maybe this desire to control is rooted in self centeredness ("I want my way"). Much of it may be rooted in arrogance ("I know best"). I also think that fear is at the heart of much of this. Perhaps we are afraid that if we do not maintain complete control of the situation, things will fall apart. (What would they do without me?). Regardless of where it is rooted, it may reveal more than anything, a real hesitation to trust God. To depend on him. To rely on his love and his mercy.
When I was growing up, we sang "He’s Got the Whole World in his Hands" in our Sunday School class. Maybe I need to look at the "He" in that song again. Is it God who has the world in his hands? Or, do I feel as if the weight of the world is on me?
I’m afraid, the controller is ultimately left with the later.