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There’s a rarely discussed passage tucked away in 1 Timothy that has the power to set a man free from bondage.

It took me awhile to recognize how pervasive this practice is. It’s worth pondering.

Some have strayed from [love] and turned aside to empty talk. They want to be teachers of the Law, but they do not understand what they are saying or that which they so confidently assert. Now we know that the Law is good, if one uses it legitimately. We realize that law is not enacted for the righteous, but for the lawless and rebellious (1 Tim 1:6-9)

One of the earliest tells of a manipulator (or victim of manipulation) is that they will take a law intended for criminals, and twist it in order to shame normal people (or themselves.)

A modern example of this is “toxic masculinity.”

“Toxic masculinity” is a concept that only applies to criminals: wife beaters, rapists, violent gangs, etc.

Normal men do not wish to harm a woman. The warning is entirely unnecessary.

Yet the rhetoric is used to shame ordinary men into thinking there is something wrong with them.

Sensitive souls can be beaten down by treating them like criminals.

My percussion professor in college was a wise man. He would often speak in paradoxes.

Often, as he would stand in front of the ensemble and deliver a verbal flogging, he would close with this remark:

“If you’re worried about this, you’re not the one I’m talking to.”

Severe warnings are only necessary for the rebellious.