“It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love.” DA487 (old version)

Can you imagine a world without external control or manipulation?

It’s good for Jesus, but when it comes right down to it, we have to ply external rewards (grades/praise/promotion) and levy external punishments (grades/shame/power) because we think that true freedom and choice is permissive and leads to unruly intolerable behavior. Maybe it does; after all, God allowed humans to choose sin.  However, it’s still worth considering that God’s permission is better than Satan’s coercion. In fact, I’d guess that most folks just don’t know how to work God’s system of choice and freewill based on love and principles because we have learned too well from the control and manipulation pressed upon us all our lives by well meaning parents, teachers, ministers, spouses and friends. When someone isn’t doing what we want them to, we naturally go to power and control and other options are just too scary or foreign for most folks to think about.

Jesus will seep through our junk if we keep looking at His ways. We should work to clear all that control and manipulation away. This is why I read William Glasser, Jim Roy, Brene Brown, and Ellen White (Education).  I really want to be like Jesus, and I can’t without looking at how I can extend freewill to my students, children, wife, and friends rather than coercion and manipulation.

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