Don’t confront those who are behaving badly and are, by their actions, destroying themselves and others. If your conscience is bothering you, nudging you to say something, excuse your passivity by remembering that “they are responsible before the Lord for how they live their lives” and that it doesn’t really concern you.
Don’t forget that what people want most from you is fun, entertainment, something exotic or some new intellectual delicacy. They surely do not want to hear about such things as sin, repentance, a change in lifestyle, etc… Therefore, do not speak on such negative topics, and if you must mention them, do so only generally and never on a personal level.
If you have something against someone, “shoot him down” (that is, settle it with him) optimally through your sermon, public speaking or email—but never eye-to-eye.
Defend your opinions with the claim, “Everybody thinks that way.” At the same time, never identify who “everybody” is.
Surround yourself with those who agree with you. The others surely have “a different (i.e. “bad”) spirit,” and therefore there is no use in listening to them.
If a serious problem or issue arises that is necessary to address, try to get around it by saying that it is a “spiritual problem” and therefore cannot be disclosed. The more fog you create around the issue, the greater the chances are that it will never be resolved.
If you want to appear spiritual, don’t name specific sins or problems, but rather categorize them as spirits. Talk about the spirit of discord, the spirit of unforgiveness, the spirit of reluctance, the spirit of the person you dislike, etc…
Try to remain in one of two extremes—either respond to everything or, if possible, to nothing. If you are able to speak at least a little bit effectively, you will appear, in the first extreme, as though you understood everything. In the second extreme, you will appear humble.
Convince yourself or, as the case may be, let others be convinced, that you are called by God, which gives you the right in certain instances to do basically whatever you like. If doubts begin to encroach on your conscience that you are going too far, then remember that you are doing it for God and all is forgiven.
Strongly emphasize your weaknesses and inabilities and call them reliance on God. Never be specific, however, and never admit your individual faults or sins. You need a thick skin for this, but people like to cling to illusions, even illusions about you…
Keep people at a distance. Rationalize it by saying that leaders cannot have close friends. Solve others’ problems together, but never your own. Soon you will begin to give the impression that you have no problems at all.
Divide the world between spiritual and unspiritual, and try to be an authority on the former. The advantage of the spiritual half of the world is that it is unfathomable, when you are the only authority on it, and thus you cannot be controlled, replaced or criticized.
Always try to be reactive, never proactive, and, when possible, let others speak for you. Those who go out on a limb are the ones subject to criticism. Never do it, but if you must, then at least do it from afar.
View your colleagues as means to an end. If, for whatever reason, you lose any, don’t fall into sentimentalism. “The Lord will surely bring you others.” Don’t talk about your co-workers too much. Say something positive about them once in a while, but never too much and never anything too specific. If you hear that someone is slandering them, don’t confirm or disprove anything. All the credit will then be yours.
Manipulate people by saying, “If I don’t get my way, I will leave…”
Let yourself be offended from time to time, and never be the first one to extend the hand of reconciliation. You need to be “firm in the Lord”, and with His help win the battle of the wills. Complain that the other party has not yet come to you.
Remember that you are only accountable to God, not man (and especially not to some member of the church, a parishioner). People have no say in what you do, and so you are basically irreproachable. Moreover, they would never understand you…
From time to time yell, exaggerate and make a big impression of how sorrowful you are about some given thing.
Spiritual manipulation is an evil and insidious thing, and so perhaps even these words of “advice” will help someone see through such practices in time and not allow oneself to be fooled. I think that manipulators like those who use the above-mentioned practices are actually in fear of other people. That is why they keep themselves at a distance by their manipulative behavior. I know for a fact that the only way to get rid of these practices (and, I might add, such people), is to openly confront the manipulator with his/her actions. Confrontation, however, requires courage and tends to be painful. Confronting a manipulative person is not easy, but it is worth it. For if we fail to do it, we will gradually lose our own self-respect…