I try to avoid manipulative people. Sometimes I don't see it coming. The worst kind of manipulators I've come across have been fellow Christians. They want you to worship they way they do, believe the way they do, or just do what they want you to do. These are believers that use witchcraft in the name of God. 'Christian' manipulators apparently don't believe in free will. I really try to avoid these kind of people. It's not that I think they are evil, but rather they wore their welcome out with me many years ago. I am weary and wary of them. I'm just of the belief that God desires people to come to Him, pursue and serve Him of their own accord and FREE WILL!!!!
I do not mind doing good deeds for people, giving to people, going the extra mile - but I do not like to be played by someone who is just trying to get their way. I cringe and retreat when I see someone scheming and coercing in the name of God.
I can't stand manipulation by guilt. Those kind of manipulators are met (by me) by a stone wall or by getting laughed at. Both responses are quite appropriate. Usually guilt manipulators don't know when to stop - so I usually just have to just walk away and let them say what they will about me. I just don't play the guilt game anymore. They can think and say what they will - I'm out of there. The guilt thing was such an effective tool the enemy used against me for so many years of my youth - that I clearly see it coming these days. Guilt is no longer my Kryptonite.
As for favors and causes...I do free stuff all the time. Every once and a while, a serpent slips beneath my boundaries. I give of my time and talent a lot, so it's easier to fall for this kind of manipulation. I am just thankful that I see them coming - most of the time Well, it happened to me recently. I was taken in and had to constantly make my way through the web of simultaneous seemingly innocent and coincidental coercement. Well, I ducked here and there, but still got tangled in a few snares. I eventually I fulfilled my obligation and made a mental note to steer very clear of that person again.
This subject reminded me of a big time manipulator that used to hang around our coffeehouse back in the late eighties. He called himself The Balloon Man. Anyone remember that character? He was always wanting something from me (not little things mind you) but full time Christian service for him. One night he approached me and said to me (get this), "David, I am looking for someone who will serve me as I serve God!" I of course declined his generous offer. Another Saturday evening he announced to me, "David, I was praying to God last night and he told me that you would help me by becoming part of my ministry!" I politely told him that I had also been talking to God last night and that He mentioned nothing about it. The Balloon Man was an easy one to handle - always so full of himself (which was mostly hot air). Eventually, this guy got the message that I wasn't going to follow him or serve him as he served God. I am sure he came to believe that I wasn't a very good Christian. I never regretted popping his balloon.
So I am ever watchful and sensitive about such people and circumstances. In the future - what ever the great cause - I will avoid any endeavor organized by serpents. I know, there will be times I'll slip up.