“I’ll Pray for You” Can Be a Weapon in the Hands of Control-Freaks

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2015 Nancy Virden

photo-24790069-two-upset-womenControl-freak. It’s a less offensive way of saying rude, obnoxious, power-hungry, micro-managing, nosy, selfish, obstinate, disrespectful, unmerciful, and thoughtless.  

We’ve all met them –  the man or woman who always has some judgment to make whether pleasant or not-so-pleasant. Even billowy praises are meant to hold you to their standards.

Each time you see them they comment about you, your work, your lifestyle, your home, your friends, your character, or your decisions. For example, one day “Oh, you look nice!” and the next “You wore that?” Little goes unnoticed.

It’s a constant dripping of approval and disapproval.

Unfortunately, control-freaks attend churches, assume leadership, and do much damage to the body of Christ. From attendance-takers to treasurers, I’ve seen control-freaks make life miserable for everyone else.

“I’ll pray for you” can be said in a tone of approval or disapproval. Picture hands on hips, head cocked sideways, a barely disguised condescension in the voice, “Oh, I’ll pray for you!

It’s as if the offer itself is an attempt at influencing one’s behavior. Sometimes “I’ll pray for you” is simply a dismissal because prayer is not on the agenda of the one promising it.

We are all complex and do and say hurtful things to each other. Usually though, we are not driven by a need to control those around us. Most of us know how to apologize and adjust. Control-freaks will not do that or only superficially. 

We do not all struggle with mental illness challenges, but I’d like to think that followers of Christ will not be carriers. Control-freaks can eat away at one’s self-confidence and sense of wellbeing. 

Compassionate love among those of us who pray, does not seek to control but peacefully gives concerns to God and leaves them there. Compassionate love is humble, and accepts that only God knows what everyone else needs to do.  


NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

* pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com

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