Jimmy Evans - Breaking the Curse of Control
In every species of animal there's a dominator. There's an alpha male, there is some animal in that group of animals that is dominating the rest of them except for human beings. We, it violates us. It's always wrong, it always violates us, and we'll never have a healthy relationship as long as there's control in that relationship. And again, I want to say I was the controller early in our relationship and it ruined our marriage. We had no intimacy, we had no good will. We were on the brink of divorce because of the dominance that I exercised.
So I want to talk about the three ingredients of control. When you're controlling another person or you're being controlled by another person, there are three types of control that people exercise. And we're going to use the analogy of Jezebel. And this is not about women. Because there're just as many men that do this as women. But there is a woman in the New Testament and the Old Testament named Jezebel. And Jezebel employs the full range of control. That's the only reason I'm using her is because she was unbelievable in the way that she controlled. Old Testament, New Testament. So here are the three ingredients of control.
Number one is manipulation. You can manipulate through money. You can manipulate through self-pity, self-harm, deceit. Whatever it might be. But the word manipulate means to control or influence unfairly or unscrupulously. And typically, this is typically, a person who feels weaker manipulates. If you're in a position of authority or if you're in a position of power, you typically don't manipulate. You feel weaker and that's why you're doing it. But this is what Jezebel did.
The second ingredient of control is intimidation. And this is a ramp up from manipulation. A lot of times when you're being manipulated you really don't know it until afterwards. But when you're being intimidated you know it. First Kings 19, Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba which belongs to Judah, and left his servants there.
Now this Jezebel was a vicious, vicious person. We'll read another scripture here in just a minute. And Elijah had just taken on 450 prophets of Baal and destroyed them. And this one woman with this Jezebel spirit, this one woman sends a message to Elijah and said, I'm going to kill you by this time tomorrow. By the gods, I'm going to kill you by this time tomorrow. And this man who wasn't afraid of 450 prophets of Baal was terrified by Jezebel and ran away from her. And when he got there he asked God to kill him. He said, I don't want to live anymore.
And so when a person has a Jezebel spirit, they're just, again, it's men or women, it's frightening. They want to use intimidation to control you. And that's what terrorism is. Worldwide terrorism, if you don't do what we're saying we're going to threaten you. Threats of violence, threat of exposure, I know something about you and I'm going to tell everybody unless you do what I say. Threat of self-harm, I'm going to kill myself, I'm going to hurt myself if you don't do this, or if you do this. Retaliation, divorce, adultery, financial harm. Whatever it might be. And so intimidation. Using intimidation to change a person's behavior. Okay, that's control.
Number three is domination. First Kings 18. For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken 100 prophets, and hid them 50 to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water. Massacre. Physical force, financial force, force of personality, political. The way that I controlled Karen was just force of my personality. I had a stronger personality than she had. The other thing is I'm a fast talker, I'm a fast thinker. That's not always good. Sometimes I talk in front of my brain and that's not a good thing. Karen doesn't process information as quickly. And she can't speak as quickly as I can. So early in our marriage when we would have a fight, I would just overpower her with the force of my personality and the force of my language and things like that.
And so some people they just, they'll wear you out. If they don't get their way they'll just wear you out. And you know, another way that you know you're being controlled is you're going to pay a price if you don't go along. That's the way people control others. You can come against me but you're going to pay a price. I'm going to train you. So that's how people control. Why does God curse control? We're going to talk about breaking the curse of control. Why does God curse control? The first reason is anyone we control, we've taken God's place in their lives. If I'm controlling another person, I'm not talking about righteous authority now, but if I'm controlling another person, I have taken the position of Jesus Christ in that person's life. But believing somehow I guess I have a divine right to do that. But we don't. Only God has the right to control. But I want to tell you something about the nature of God. And that is God is not a controller. You'll never wake up in the morning with the Lord standing at your bed going, now get up and pray right now.
Now you get up right now, you man of God, you woman of God, and you pray, and you read your Bible, and you. He doesn't do that, He could, but He doesn't do that. Let me tell you something about the Lord. He's a shepherd, not a sheep herder. A shepherd stands in front of the sheep and leads the willing, a sheep herder gets behind the sheep and drives them against their will. God doesn't control us against our will. He gives us the opportunity to do what we want to do without being controlled. Now there will be an end of the Age of Grace. And then, according to our will we go to Heaven, or against our will some people will go to Hell. There will be a time that God imposes His will. But all He's doing at that point is just honoring what people decided. But God is not a controller. And so, it's against His nature. And whenever we're controlling we're taking His place.
The other thing about control is it prevents trust and intimacy. Karen and I, when I was controlling our relationship, we had no intimacy whatsoever. You can't. University of California did a study, a very intense study years ago, of marriage and control. And they took 130 newly married couples and they tracked them for five years. And what they were trying to find was, what is the secret of a happy marriage? And so they interviewed these couples over a period of five years. And at the same time that they were studying the 130 couples they had another group of couples that had been married for a while and they were also studying them. At the end of the study they decided the number one factor that creates the goodwill and happiness of marriage is shared control of the relationship.
And they found if one person controls the other, the intimacy and satisfaction of the marriage drops dramatically. You simply can't be intimate with someone who's controlling you. 'Cause it violates us. We know it's wrong. Okay, the next thing is it presents a distorted image of God to our children. God put His image on Adam and Eve and then commanded them to multiply. And so parents are image bearers of God to their children. So God wants us as parents to train our children we don't dominate. Mom and I respect each other. We talk to each other respectfully. We make all of our decisions together. But when children, and most of us have grown up in a home where one parent dominated the other one. And it distorts the image.
See there's God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Who's in control? Yes, they all are. They have a, we have the Trinity. Our God is three in one. Our God is one manifested in three persons. Does the Father dominate the Son? No. Does the Son dominate the Holy Spirit? No. Does the Holy Spirit dominate the Son or the Father? No. They live in a triunity of equality. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our relationship in marriage is a Christlike man, a Holy Spirit like woman, with God in the middle of it. It is a triune relationship of equality. And now obviously, we're under God, but we're also the bride of Christ. So this is, it's a beautiful thing. So God curses control. Wherever you find a relationship where there is control there's going to be curse there.
So why do we control? Let's talk about the causes of control. Why do people control each other? One is pride. We just believe that we're better. I grew up in a family system. Not so much my father, but my grandfather and a lot of our family. The men were chauvinists. And we believed that we were better than women. When I married Karen I just believed that men were better than women. I just did. And I thought, and Karen, I just thought, Karen doesn't train very well. Karen's not like the other female relatives that were just real sweet and did what the men said. And it's just going to take me a little while to train her. And she did not train well at all. And finally one day the Lord broke through my heart and said to me, she's your equal. And I had sinned.
Chauvinism is a sin. It is a sin for men to believe they're better than women or women to believe they're better than men. And we're equal. In Christ there is neither male or female. And men and women are absolutely equal in the sight of God. And men and women, husbands and wives are totally equal. But you realize that a lot of people just believe for some reason that they have some kind of a divine right to dominate somebody else because they're better. But we're not. The second reason is deception. There are teachings that teach that men are better than women and that women should submit to men in the sense that men are better than women biblically. It's wrong teaching. Everywhere I go, as often as I can, I teach that we're equals, because we are. And the only way you're going to have a satisfactory marriage is to be equals. And if men are the head of the home, if they are the head of the home, they're there to sacrificially serve their wives as Jesus does with themselves being the last consideration. If we're the head, again, there's nothing wrong with that. Women don't mind that.
Another reason we dominate is because of an unsubmitted, unsanctified choleric personality. Choleric means strong. And there are some of you that you're just strong. You're strong people, I'm that way. I have a naturally strong personality. And I like to lead, I like to make decisions, I've never been insecure in that. But the problem is, when that's unsanctified. So when Karen and I first got married I had a strong personality, but it wasn't submitted to God. And it wasn't filled with the Holy Spirit. See, the Holy Spirit gives us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control. When the Holy Spirit, my personality, when it's baptized in the Holy Spirit it becomes kind and good. And my strength is there to benefit other people, not to dominate other people. But some people, and there are just as many strong women as strong men. But some people that have strong personalities feel like that they, you know, it gives them the right to dominate others.
Let me say this, we marry according to our level of emotional health. Health marries health, and unhealth marries unhealth. This is my man hand, this is my woman hand. I had very high self-esteem. Never had to struggle with self-esteem growing up. But I too high of self-esteem. Karen had extremely low self-esteem. And so we were a match. Because we accommodated each other. She needed my strength because she had such low self-esteem. She needed someone with confidence. And I was so arrogant I needed someone who would allow that. Okay, so did it work? It was a nightmare. We got married and Karen resented the fact that I dominated her. And I disrespected her because she was so weak. And so what happened was, and by the way, I was this, you always marry according to your level of emotional health. Health marries at health, unhealth marries unhealth.
So women who are very strong will typically find a real sweet, quiet man that puts up with her. And it doesn't work because she disrespects him, she doesn't respect him 'cause he's weak, and he doesn't respect her because he feels emasculated. So this doesn't work. So we got married and Karen was the one who started to get healed. She began to pray, she began to spend time with God, and she began to stand up to me. And I thought, you don't do that to me, girl. And she did this. Well what happens, it's like a teeter-totter. When the other person over here changes, the equation changes.
So when Karen began to stand up it forced, she was trying to force me. She just walked up to me and said, Don't talk to me like that. And I think, you don't talk to me like that. Women don't talk to men like that. When I'm upset my voice goes up. You've got, so. You don't talk it. So, I just thought, what? What do you think you're doing standing up to me like that? Well she did this, she was healthy, she was standing up to me. And so I told her to get out of the house. The night she stood up to me related to golfing. I'd been golfing and I came in and she told me, I want you to be home, I want you to be with the kids, I want you to stop playing golf so much. And I just told her, you get out. You go pack your bags and get out.
And that was the night that the Lord broke through my heart. But understand this. This, we were here. You may be in a marriage, and you're here, okay? You can change. In fact, I'm going to say it, by this time next week you'd be fine. It's not that hard. This is not, you know, set in concrete. So let me say it, so how does it change? The dominate person just has to sit down. You just have to decide, I don't want to dominate people anymore. This doesn't work. This just isn't working. This person really is pretty easy to change 'cause they're so strong willed. And so what I say to dominate people like me is, get over yourself, sit down. Start listening, start seeking other people's opinions, stop being so dominate. You know, all that. So sit down. This person needs to stand up, okay?
So in our case, Karen started standing up to me, God humbled me, and I began to sit down. And so we, you know, we were like this, and now we're here because Karen dominates me. She's way too healed. I've asked Jesus to take away some of her healing. I want her like here. But the sister's way too healed, so. But it just simply doesn't work. So if you have a strong personality, you may be raising children. And you notice that you have a son or a daughter that has a strong personality. Teach them to respect other people and teach them not to use their strength to disrespect and control other people. 'Cause they'll never be successful in a relationship if they do.
Another reason that we control is fear or feeling out of control. The most dominate people I've ever met are fearful people. The period, period. In marriage counseling, when I find people who are very, very controlling, and I'm telling you you can't believe, I could tell you stories. You couldn't believe the level of control that I've seen. Almost criminal. Almost kidnapping. Kind of control of one person absolutely dominating every aspect of another person's life. Okay, so the last is simply not trusting God. With our lives and the people, problems, and issues or our lives. Not trust, and this is the big one. When you don't trust God with people, you end up trying to be God in that person's life.
Let me say this about Karen, or if you're married. There are things about Karen I just can't change. I can go to Karen and I can say, Karen, this and this and this, but you know, sometimes she doesn't see it. Or she'll say something to me. So in marriage, I have to go get in my prayer closet when I'm praying, and say, Lord, if what I'm saying to Karen is the truth, would You change her? Would You show her? If you're submitted to a boss or something like that, and you have to trust God to change someone's heart. And if you don't trust God, you're going to naturally try to manipulate, intimidate, or dominate other people simply to get the result you want rather than trusting God.
So let me talk about breaking the curse of control and I'm finished. How do you break out of the curse of control?
Number one, submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ. And I'm talking about as a married couple, Karen and I make every decision in our home together. You can't find one decision in the Evans household that we didn't make as a team. We talk, and what I'm saying is, is we don't butt heads, because we're both submitted to Jesus. I'm not trying to impose my will on Karen. Karen isn't trying to impose her will on me. We're trying to find the will of God. We are both submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Karen and I never talk about who the boss in our home is because Jesus Christ is the boss in our home.
Number two way that you break the curse of control is being humble and having a servant heart toward other people. Just, you have to be humble and be a servant. You can't, you can't lord over other people. God doesn't give us that right, it's cursed. And God loves us, we're on our way to Heaven. But I'm telling you, God will never bless that.
Number three, communicating our needs, desires, and problems with others, and then trusting the results to God or those in authority. Women and men are equal. You have every right to say what you say to your spouse. But here's the million dollar question. Who's the enforcer, you or the Holy Spirit? And see, when we cross the line as husbands or wives is when I'm the enforcer. And I said something to you. What we should do is say it to our spouse. Now if this is destructive behavior, you have to take it to another level. When you love a person you don't watch them self-destruct. So if it's self-destructive behavior, or hurting other people, you have to ramp it up, get some intervention, do something. But I'm talking about ordinary behavior. You go to your spouse and say this and this and this, and they say, ah, I don't agree with that. Go get in your prayer closet and sick Jesus on them. Okay, listen to me. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. And if you're speaking the truth, He will be your partner to change your spouse. If it's not true it doesn't need to be enforced. And there is that fractional, fractional possibility that you could be wrong. I know it's almost impossible, but it's possible. So you have to be careful.
Here's number four, how do you break out of this? Righteously standing up to dominating and controlling people and not allowing them to abuse or dominate us. And if you've been controlled or dominated for a while, you have to flex that muscle. You have to flex the muscle of standing up, righteously. Not in a bad way, but Karen began to stand up to me. What do you mean? You want to talk to me like, don't talk to me like that. Don't talk to me like that. You can insist on respect. Don't talk to me like that, no, no. My voice is going up. When I get upset my voice goes up. Don't talk to me like that. You can insist on respect. And a lot of times the reason that people control us is we let them. And they, over a period of time, they understand we're not going to say anything, we're not going to do anything. People should know, especially if they abuse us, it aint' gonna happen. I'm not a doormat, you're not going to treat me like that. And I'm not going to treat you like that, but I'm not going to let you walk all over me. But I'm going to be righteous about it.
And number five, this is the last one and I'm done. Submitting to each other in the fear of God. This is what Ephesians 5 says when it talks about, the most revelatory text in the world concerning marriage, is found in Ephesians 5. And it says, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Then it tells women how to submit to men, then it tells men how to submit to women. A lot of times people will read Ephesians 5 and they think it's only talking to women. It's talking to men and women saying submit to one another in the fear of God. And what that means is both, we ought to be very respectful to one another. We ought to treat each other with great respect.
And so here's what I'm saying to you. In an emotionally healthy relationship, there's not control. There's respect. And we respect each other and we talk to each other in respectful ways. And because of that we gain trust. You trust me because you know I'm going to speak the truth to you but I'm going to do it righteously and I'm not going to try to enforce it. And there's trust, there's intimacy, there's good will.
But, I asked you the poll, how many of you have been in a home where one parent dominated the other one? Most of you raised your hand. And that means most of you have a mismodeling in this area. You saw control. And as a young boy growing up if your father dominated your mother, you have to wake and say that's not right. If your mother dominated your father, that's not right. What's right? Respecting each other. Being equals the way that God made us. In Genesis chapter three, God pronounced a curse over two rebellious people. Now you're going to try to dominate each other. That curse goes away in Jesus. When we come and make Him the Lord of our lives and make Him the Lord of our marriages.