Intimacy VS Control

You cannot be intimate with anyone you have to control. 

The need to control automatically eliminates any chances for long-term, meaningful relationships.  Many control freaks have no clue as to why they leave behind a trail of broken relationships.  The need for control stems from broken places in our souls that inadvertently see control as self-preservation. They say to themselves, “If I control, I don’t get hurt,” or “If I control, I get what I want.”  Our sinful pride is a fierce contender!

You may say, “I have the right to express my opinions.  I don’t care what anyone thinks.”  That’s okay, as long as you understand that such an attitude will keep you from having sustainable friendships. No one likes to be around those who always demand their way, or who feel it’s their right to express their views, even at the expense of broken relationships or hurt feelings.  Life is a “give and take” proposition that finds some of its greatest rewards in respecting others.  I’ve heard it said for years that “opinions are a dime a dozen.”  I usually add this phrase:  “And most of them aren’t worth that much!” 

The only ONE who can control you and produce intimacy is the Holy Spirit!  As a matter of fact, the more control you give Him, the more you feel loved and cherished! 

What’s the difference?  God did not design any relationship on earth to be based on unreasonable control that attempts to hold others captive.  

Have you ever wondered why it’s typically hard to be best friends with your boss?  Because being a boss predicates being the one in control.  Going off the clock doesn’t nullify this “after-hours” reality!

Why do friends and even family members fall out over lending money, or working together in business ventures?  Because money IS perceived as control.    Many wonderful relationships have gone sour because of control issues relating to money. The fallen nature seeks to control and projects itself to gain advantage.  I’ve discouraged church businessmen from hiring their church friends for the reasons I’ve discussed.  

Money is never a great equalizer; it always strives to divide and conquer!  This is one reason why we tithe our income.  Every time we give, we are reminded that it’s not ours anyway!  Not just ten percent, but all we possess belongs to God!  

Control is a multi-faceted part of life that brings with it man’s innate drive to be right and to self-preserve.  Both men and women resort to “fight over flight” when their soul is threatened by a controlling party.  

Two children playing in a sandbox with equal access to the same toys will usually get along fine.  Add a third child and control issues escalate quickly — the unspoken fight for control always spawns competition.  Abraham Lincoln one day was asked why his boys were displaying temper tantrums.  He replied, “I have three apples and both boys want two!”  

A man/husband/dad might control other men/his wife/his children with brute force and a harsh tone.  He may get his desired results, but he will never enjoy any degree of intimacy with those significant to him.  Their relationships will be shallow at best; and even non-existent in the long run.  A lot of controlling people spend their latter years isolated and lonely because they use control tactics to maneuver their loved ones and friends.  We all know someone like that.  Physical and emotional control leaves the perpetrator friendless and empty.  And authority without mutual respect and responsibility puts any relationship on the ash heap.   

A man may have sex with his wife, but if he lacks intimacy outside the bedroom, he may never experience the true beauty of lovemaking.  If the relationship is characterized by fear and control, that man will settle for an animal level of coupling. Over time, the wife will lose her heart.  A Christian counselor told a harsh and controlling husband, “If you will make your wife feel like a queen during the day, she’ll crown you king at night!”

Why do we feel we have to “be in control?”  Because control places us in a false comfort zone.  Tyrants may rule for a season, but there will come a day when “those under” will stage a coup.  Mental and emotional suppression often ends with physical overthrow.  The Menendez brothers, Lyle and Erik, murdered their wealthy parents in 1989 after years of alleged physical, emotional, and sexual abuse they suffered, especially on the part of their controlling father. Unreasonable, life-altering control never ends on a happy note. In this tragic case, two brothers are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole.  The end result of “out of control” living is staggering!

I often encounter parents who live with the reality of kids who practice social distancing in their adult years.  “After all we did for those kids,” remains their constant outcry. If somehow they could understand that control is not discipline; and the lack of affection, mutual love, and respect, always leads to strained relationships.  Remember, we cannot be intimate with who or what we have to control.

That’s why we must give the control mechanisms in our lives over to the Holy Spirit.  He alone can satisfy the inner longings of the soul.  He alone satisfies the innate drive of our life to be significant and “to matter.”  And the more control we give Him, the more personal fulfillment and meaning we discover!  He is love personified!

Control issues surrendered to the Holy Spirit become attractive centerpieces for those who yield to the Spirit’s control.  We love to be around people who lead by humble example and a “broken and contrite spirit” (Psalm 51:17).    Such individuals will never run short of loving, caring people around them. Humility attracts; control repels.  

The Holy Spirit takes our need for control and replaces it with a secure identity that downplays the right to express personal opinions and highlights the beauty of mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships.  Give the Spirit control in your life today.  Watch as He brings unspeakable joy into all of your vital relationships.


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