Ever found yourself pressing for what you think you want? Be careful what you push for; you just might get it!
"Then she said to him, 'How can you say, "I love you," when you won't confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven't told me the secret of your great strength.' With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it." Judges 16:15-16 (NIV)
Although I should have been listening to every detail of my repair bill, the mechanic's voice faded as my own thoughts increased: Why did you have to have this car? Look at all this is going to cost you. You should have listened to Greg.
Years earlier, with our first baby on the way, I had in mind the exact car I wanted. Not wanting to waste time, I went to the car lot, picked out the "perfect" car and drove it to meet my husband, Greg.
He greeted me ... but not with the words I wanted to hear.
"Lynn, these cars don't have reputations for being dependable. I think we need to keep looking."
But I'd found the car I wanted and didn't need to hear any reason whatsoever as to why we shouldn't drive it home from the lot that day. Attempting to keep his young wife happy, my husband gave in to my request.
Now here I was, standing in a repair shop, hearing my husband's sound judgment replaying in my mind: We need to keep looking. Unfortunately I had manipulated him to get what I wanted, and now I wished I hadn't.
I think Delilah might have felt the same way.
In Judges 16, we read of Samson's love for Delilah, and how she wanted to know the secret to his strength. She whined. She manipulated. Today's verse tells us, "With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it" (v. 16).
Eventually, her pestering and nagging worked: she got what she wanted, as Samson revealed his coveted secret.
I wonder what Delilah thought when she got what she wanted. Sadly Delilah shared the secret with Samson's enemies, who used the information to capture Samson, gouge out his eyes and throw him in prison. Might she have thought, "That's not what I wanted"?
Sometimes when we get what we want, we discover we didn't want it either.
Delilah got what she asked for, but not what she really wanted ... and it cost everything. Her relationship with Samson. Samson's freedom. And eventually, it even cost Samson his life.
Delilah knew the power of a woman's words — how if she just persisted she would eventually get what she wanted. She misused the power of influence God had given her.
At times, I've behaved just like Delilah, manipulating to get what I want.
When my child asks for permission and my words say, "You can choose," but later my attitude says, "I don't like the choice you made."
When my husband expresses his desire, but I manipulate for mine.
And when the fight with my child ends in tears or the meal with my husband is eaten in silence, like Delilah, I realize that what I've gotten isn't what I wanted.
It's hard to admit, but I've acted like Delilah.
How about you?
Ever found yourself pressing for what you think you want?
Take a moment. Think through this question when your emotions are spinning: Where will this end? A fight? Hurtful words? Debt? Resentment? Divorce? Estrangement?
We can learn a lot from Delilah. We can take a moment and ask ourselves: If I keep pushing, where will I end up?
Because maybe we can get what we want, but is that really what's best? Is it what God wants? Thankfully, we can stop and change our course while we still have time.
Lord, sometimes my emotions get so fueled. I don't realize I am being a Delilah until it is too late. The fight, and the ensuing silence, have already come. Holy Spirit, help me see when I am pressing and pushing for what I want. Empower me to stop and change my course before the consequences come. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Is there an area or relationship in your life where you are pushing for what you want?
Do you need to ask forgiveness from someone you have manipulated?