In the Book of Judges, chapter 16, Samson is betrayed by Delilah.
Delilah says to Samson, “I love you.”
Survivors of sexual abuse may have been told, “I love you.”
Or, “I am your doctor.”
Or, “I am your pastor.”
Or, “I am your father /mother /religious superior / spiritual director” or any number of other words implying that they could trust the person who went on to betray that trust.
Delilah sold out Samson for eleven hundred shekels of silver. She succeeded in getting Samson to reveal the most intimate secret of his heart – how he was vulnerable.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
Samson’s weakness being known was exploited and, as a result, he was physically abused – maimed for life by the rulers of the Philistines.
Not only maimed, but put on display in the temple of the Philistines who celebrated how Samson had been brought down so low.
Has the way you have been treated by the ‘rulers’ in your life – Church, educational, family or other ‘authorities’ made you feel like Samson did in the temple? Maimed, mocked, abandoned?
Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more..” (Judges 16:28 NIV)
God answered that prayer, and Samson became stronger at that point than he had ever been before.
Samson thought his power was in his hair. His power came from prayer.
I pray that all survivors will one day again feel power, and use that power to pull down the pillars of denial and cover-up in the institutions in which they were abused.
I also pray that survivors and their supports will use their power to seek trustworthy help and to build new pillars of healing and truth in those same institutions.