Monday, October 8, 2012

Love Lessons from Samson: The Love Test

Love Lessons from Samson: The Love Test


“Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth.  Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.”  - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (CEB)

Samson and Delilah’s relationship was off to a rocky start from the beginning.  After the Philistines Lords asked Delilah to find out Samson’s weakness, she eagerly followed their instruction.  It’s obvious that even though Samson loved Delilah, she did not love him in return. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 gives us a way to answer the question “Is it Love?”, a love test.  Many of us have read these verses so many times that the words have become somewhat void, and have a more poetic sound than meaning.   To make this test clearer, let’s break it down into what love IS, and what love ISN’T. 

Love is: Patient, Kind, Truthful, Overlooking, Trusting, Hoping, and Enduring.

Love isn’t: Jealous, Bragging, Arrogant, Rude, Selfish, Irritable, Grudging, Unfair, or Untrue. 

If Samson had understood this, he would have seen how often his relationship with Delilah failed the love test. 

When Delilah asked Samson what his weakness was, he lied to her and told her that if they were to bind him in seven fresh bow strings that he could not break through.  Even while she hid the Philistines in her room, she tied Samson up with the strings to allow them to overcome him.  Surely this wasn’t love! It breaks the love test because Samson was lying!  A person that will lie to you is not in love with you.  Lies are like drops of acid to love.  One lie will do damage, but over time, all the lies mount up and love is destroyed. 

But Delilah was failing the love test too because she was selfishly keeping a secret from Samson, seeking her own advantage over him, and seeking injustice toward him.  Delilah was, in a single word, evil!
When Samson broke through the bowstrings, she was angered at him and said “you have mocked me and told me lies”.  Samson again tries to appease Delilah’s request to know his weakness and tells her another lie.  He told her that if she were to weave his hair into a weavers loom he could not break free and would be weak.  So while he slept, she wove his hair into a loom.  And when he awoke to her cries that “the Philistines are upon you, Samson!” he broke the loom and was free. 

At this point, notice that Samson didn’t questions Delilah as to why she’d woven his hair into the loom behind his back, while he was asleep.  When you love someone that doesn’t love you, you forgive every wrong doing against you.  Your heart becomes veiled to how they treat you and you can’t see that it’s not love that they are giving you.
There’s an old game that someone who does not love you will play.  It’s the old “if you loved me you would” game.  This too doesn’t pass the love test, which says that love is not self-seeking.  Someone who loves you will not push you to do something you don’t want to do.  Oh, Samson must have been so blinded by his desire to be loved!  Delilah said to him “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.  Her plea could easily be translated to “If you loved me, you would tell me!”

She continued to pester him for days, which says that Samson refused to see this relationship for what it really was.  He was blinded to her desire to overcome him, to make him weak.  He was blinded to the fact that she did not love him, and take pride in his greatest asset, which was his strength.  She only looked to destroy the strength that he cherished.
Judges 16:16 says “she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death”.  There is nothing like a nag!  Men and women, nagging is not love.  Nagging is self-seeking!  Delilah failed the test again, but this time she won the prize! 

Samson finally broke down and told her “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.”  Delilah then made a path straight to the Philistine lords and tells them to come up to her house, because this time he has told her the truth.  They came, and brought her money in payment!  Judges 16:19 says “she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.”  She set a trap for him, and he fell in head first.
Delilah intentionally harmed Samson in the same way that a spouse will abuse the one they claim to love.  Friends, no matter what excuse is given, this behavior is never love!  Love seeks your good and not your harm.  Love is not rude, irritable, or unfair.  Love hopes for your happiness, and endures everything.  If you’re in a destructive relationship, please know that God says it is not love.  Your Father in Heaven wants the best for His children and you can be free.

Ironically enough, the Philistines first put out Samson’s eyes.  Love had truly blinded him. 
It can be very difficult to walk away from a relationship where you are in love with someone who just isn’t in love with you.  It’s even harder when you’ve chased after love and fall into it at a desperate and vulnerable time.  But if you don’t walk away the consequences are self-destructing.  One of my favorite quotes from the Disney movie “Aladdin” was from the Genie who said “I can’t make nobody love nobody”.  The Genie couldn’t do it, and you can’t make them love you either. 
Changing who you are to try to cause someone to love you won’t work either.  You can’t fake who you are forever, and be happy. 

Single friends, test all your relationships with God’s word and the love test.  If it doesn’t pass the love test, get out quickly.

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