What kind of relationship do you want: 50/50 vs 100/100?
What makes a good movie? As we know, most good movies begin with some kind of tension that is progressively resolved and leaves us feeling good for spending time and money watching the story unfold and the characters develop.
What makes for a good romance movie? Relational growth between interesting characters who have realistic emotional tension and attraction. And a creative, unusual or even tragic ending.
Meet Samson and Delilah. Do you think they have the material for a good romantic movie?
There’s the tension within Samson – he’s supposed to be an example of someone that obeys God and through whom God provides deliverance for Israel. There’s the tension that although he’s called to be the nations deliverer, he’s unaware of that calling. He was supposed to defeat the Philistines, not marry one of them! He’s an interesting character….we wonder where his loyalties lie.
There’s the tension within Delilah – she’s a Philistine who “loves” Samson. But, does she really love him, or is she just using him as he is using her….we wonder where her loyalties lie.
There’s the religious tension of Israel abandoning their God and worshiping the gods of the nations. There’s no doubting where God’s loyalties lie, he’s faithful to his covenant.
Sadly, Samson and Delilah do not really love each other – they merely use each other under the mask of “love.” Samson’s use of Delilah is fairly straight forward: He uses her for physical gratification. Delilah however, is a more complex character: she uses him for social, political and economic gain. After all, the kings of the Philistines come to her because she holds the key to national security and she can become a millionaire over night! The tension with Delilah is whether she will sell Samson out to the Philistines kings.
While these elements may make for an interesting movie – they don’t make for a solid relationship where real sacrificial love is the foundation.
Take a look at God’s love for Israel. Israel offers God nothing. He receives no advantage or gain from choosing and loving Israel. Still, he faithfully loves and pursues Israel. Israel on the other hand has everything to gain by faithfully loving and following God. But ironically, they are blind to his love, his covenant and consequently his protective blessings. That blindness makes them vulnerable to the gods of the nations.
You may have heard some people talk about a marriage as a 50/50 deal. That’s the formula for using each other, not loving each other. That kind of relationship says “I love you because you can do something for me.” What we’re really after is a 100/100 kind of marriage, where we don’t do X in order to get Y. We just do X out of the kind of love that we’ve received from God. Unconditionally. Willingly. With Joy. And often with pain. But it’s a pain that is not unfamiliar to Jesus.
That’s how God loves us – even on our worst day – like God’s love for Samson and Israel – he’s always faithful and his love is always available.
How are you responding to his love today?