Archive for September 6th, 2006

If You Really Loved Me…

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Today’s scripture: Judges 16:15-21 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts (Julie Benson):

Welcome to Jerry Springer, 13th Century BC.

Our first guest today is Samson, a man of enormous strength and violent behavior. He is popular with the Israelites who see him as their protector. Consecrated to God at birth, Samson has taken a Nazirite vow to never drink wine, to never touch a dead body, and to let his hair remain unshaven throughout his life.

Meet Delilah: Samson’s latest love interest, from the Valley of Sorek. Though she has never professed her love, Delilah has preyed upon Samson and has broken her lover’s heart insisting that Samson divulge his secret of strength to her. She is the poster child of femme fatales for her seductiveness, conspiracy, and deception toward her lover.

Waiting backstage are the Philistines. With their power and Delilah’s vulnerable social position, they have used Delilah as a pawn in their political games to rid themselves of Samson. It is difficult to estimate what Delilah’s emotional response may be, but by providing her with enough income to last her the rest of her life, there is little she can do but accept this offer.

Delilah asks Samson to trust her enough to reveal his own weakness and to let go of the need to be in control. Delilah has power over Samson and uses it to her best advantage. The audience can feel Samson’s loathing and exasperation as Delilah incessantly nags him and nags him and nags him: “If you really loved me…”

When we carry an attitude of entitlement, our dealings with others are often the same. Our motives and intentions become selfish and we disregard the sacred worth of those we truly love. It is the ones we are closest to that most often receive the brunt of our ugly ego. We issue demands and ultimatums, and we refuse to relinquish control. Like Delilah, we advance on our target with tunnel vision, leaving no room for discussion or compromise. We need to stop the aggression and realize that we do not own our partner. Consciously choosing gentleness over hostility will only strengthen a relationship. The next time you have a burning request, check your own ego at the door and fully consider the other’s value and worth.

‘Til next time, take care of yourself — and each other.

Thought for the day: Reflect upon how you have been treating the person closest to you in your life. Identify one area of that relationship that needs extra nurture and care; then develop a plan to foster that growth.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: Dan Funk, director of ICON and the Jesus MCC Justice Fund.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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