Then Delilah pouted, “How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” Judges 16:15
If you really loved me, you would (fill in the blank) .
That’s what Delilah was really saying here. “If you really love me, you will give me what I want.”
I’m certain there’s not a single person reading this post that hasn’t heard this statement in some capacity; whether it be from their own lips to someone else or had them spoken to them. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all at the very least, thought these words. In regards to a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, friend, parent, sibling, child or some other relative; or maybe it was to God. Who knows what I’m talking about? Quick show of virtual hands! I’ll be the first to raise mine.
In some cases, it’s because we’ve been hurt by someone who’s suppose to love us. Other cases, however, are like that of our girl Delilah, who wanted something that she wasn’t getting. Either way, this very thought process in BOTH cases, are due to a lack of being in control and are a form of (da da da dummmmm) MANIPULATION.
That’s right! There’s no justification for this statement. Not even that of a legitimate offense against us. Why? Because it’s fueled by our desire to have control. Control over things that aren’t in our hands and never will be. The desire to have control of our own lives and circumstances. In speaking or even thinking these words, we’re actually trying to manipulate someone or God into doing things our way, giving us what we want so that we may be satisfied with the outcome.
To my husband at 11pm, while I’m 6 months pregnant, “If you really love me, you’ll go get me an Icee.” Perfect example of intentional manipulation. In reality, both my husband and I knew that he loved me whether he catered to my late night preggo craving or not. Needless to say, it worked and he catered.
Other examples in more serious aspects would be, “If you really love me, you would/wouldn’t do this, that or the other.” The fact is, we wrongly measure love by what we think someone else should or shouldn’t do in order to meet our expectations. As much as this is true of us doing this to people in our lives, it’s true that we also do it to God.
I can think of so many times I’ve directed these words to Him. I’ll confess, the last time was just a week ago. Something much to the effect of, “God, if you really love me, fix this situation!” Or, “God, if you really loved me, You wouldn’t be letting us struggle in this situation for so long.“
The Word tells us that God’s love for us is unconditional. There’s nothing we can do or not do to earn His love. Why then, do we doubt His love for us when He doesn’t do as we want, when we want?
Just this past week, after throwing a temper tantrum and venting to a friend, she made the point that God thinks I’m adorable when I do so. Much like I do of my 2 year old who gets me told for not giving her her way. Lord knows I can only understand every 4th word she says while she points her finger at me and waving her arms about to make her case. Honestly, she’s so stinking cute when she’s doing it that I can’t help but love her more. However, just as me not giving into my toddler’s demands doesn’t mean I love her less, the same goes for our heavenly Father. It’s not out of spite but because He knows what’s best for us more than we do.
But when we try to manipulate the situations in our lives, with either God or people, by buying into the bogus idea of “if they really love us…” we sabotage these precious relationships. It creates division and bitterness takes root.
The good news is God can’t be manipulated. If we would just choose to measure His love for us by truth and His Word, rather than our feelings, we could be enlightened by an whole new perspective; not only that of how we view His love but also the love of others. It also teaches us how to experience love as we were meant to.
God loves us without measure, so also should we love without measure.
Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing, reading, and traveling. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.