There is an example of every behavioral issue in the Bible- we just have to look.
Samson is an example of a boy, now a grown man, whose parents had difficulties saying ‘no.’
The first clue we have is that Samson asks for a wife a man in his position- Jewish (which is enough), a judge, and a Nazarite- should never be asking to marry. His parents vaguely try to dissuade him by asking if there is not another, perhaps Jewish, woman he might want, and when he demands to have his way, they give in and proceed to give him what he wants, even though they know it is not good for him. (Judges 14-16)
So here are the traits that result from never hearing ‘no’ in any meaningful way…
- He does not think the rules apply to him.
Samson eats unclean food out of a dead lion’s carcass, he sleeps with prostitutes etc.
Samson, to his eventual detriment, disregards the rules when they do not suit him. This does not mean that he is always bad, but when the rules interfere with what he wants to do, he does what he wants.
- He does not fulfill his responsibilities when it is inconvenient to him.
The groom is expect to provide wedding clothes for the groomsmen. Samson finds ways to get out of his responsibility and stick his new friends with the bill.
- He throws tantrums when he is thwarted.
When the groomsmen answer his riddle, Samson does not handle it good-naturedly. Instead he goes out and brings them back the clothes of dead men, who were brutally killed in the outfits he presents.
- He does not consider the feelings of others.
Samson embarrasses his bride by not providing clothing for the groomsmen she provided him with and then with the horrid way he finally provides the clothing. (Samson may have no friends.)
- He storms off.
Upset about not getting his way and having to provide clothing, (even though he knows this is a societal norm), Samson storms off and goes home, leaving his bride devestated.
- He does not understand that his behavior will have consequences.
Later, Samson returns and believes his wife will be waiting for him, happy to see him, even after his horrid behavior.
- He does not accept that he caused the problem. It is not his fault.
When confronted by his father-in-law, and told that his wife has been married to another (because his behavior at their wedding seemed to indicate to everyone but Samson that he did not love her) Samson kills his ‘bride’ and her father and sets the neighborhood fields on fire, condemning the citizens of that area to starvation.
- He over-reacts.
When he finds his ‘bride to be’ married to another he kills her and her father and burns the fields, condemning others to starvation, or at least a very difficult year.
- He does not understand love and trust.
Samson is easily deceived by Delilah. This is likely due to the fact that Samson has never had a decent relationship, nor has he ever paid enough attention to another to be able to determine whether, or not, they are trustworthy. Being self-centered leaves you a target for others who are self-centered. No one with an once of self-respect wants to be close to a spoiled brat, so Samson has no wise counsel, or experience with ‘good’ people; so when someone comes along who is worse than he is, he is an easy target.
Still, God is with Samson.
There are two reasons found in scripture:
- God keeps His promises.
God made a promise to Samson’s mother before he was born- that he would deliver Israel. This may not have been the method God would have preferred to deliver Israel, but God can use anyone, even a spoiled brat. (Not that this is what we should aim to be… but our faults, no matter how large, do not mean that God is done with us.)
- God knows the beginning and the end.
Samson repents. Granted it is at the end of a very troubled life, but he does repent. God wants us close to Him- and He wants all of us close to Him. The relationship is the end-game, and in this instance, Samson eventually gets it, and that is exactly what God wants, for us to eventually get it and want a relationship with Him. Samson’s spoiled nature leads to a hard life, for him and those around him, but it does not disqualify him from having a relationship with God. And if Samson is not disqualified, neither are you!