“Daddy, I like the way God and Jesus made you.” I melted. Wow, what a wonderful and encouraging remark from my four year old. I was feeling so good about myself, until he said, “Daddy, I like the way God and Jesus made you, I like you with no hair.”
Was he kidding? I wish he had stopped with the first line, but he added
the hair part. Then, as I lay there shocked and a bit offended in the dark of
his room, he summarized by adding some more.
“Daddy, I like the way God and Jesus made you. I like you with no hair. I
think God and Jesus gave you a haircut.”
This was a lot to digest. I was half asleep when this all started, having
just finished what I thought was a fairly creative bedtime story, and then Andy hits me with all this. A compliment (I like how they made you), an insult (no hair), followed by a four year old’s reflection on creation (God and Jesus cut your hair).
I said thank you, and Andy shortly thereafter drifted off to sleep. But I
continued to lie there, pondering what he said. It led me to think of my Holy
Haircut, and then I considered the most famous haircut in history: Samson.
God had big plans for Samson. He was to free Israel from 40 years of
bondage to the Philistines. He not only had a purpose, but many spiritual highs and lows. We have many of those in our lives too. How is this for a high? Samson tore a lion apart with his bare hands as a result of the, “Spirit of the Lord coming upon him in power” (Judges 14:6). That was nothing compared to Samson killing 1000, yes 1000, Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone. I think it is safe to assert Samson knew what it was like to
hit a spiritual highpoint and truly understand the anointing of the Lord’s power and might.
He also knew spiritual low points. Remember when he scooped honey out of
the Lion’s carcass? In this act, he specifically violated the promise not to
touch the body of a dead animal. You may recall, things would get much
worse. Samson had a weakness for women. The Bible states he spent the night with a prostitute, but that is not what he's famous for. One can’t mention Samson without thinking about Delilah. The 16th chapter of Judges
features the game between the two of them, as Delilah tries three times to lure him into revealing the secret of his great strength. Three times he lies to her, but finally breaks down and speaks the truth as a result of her, “nagging and prodding.”
“So he told her everything,” (verse 17). He admitted no razor has ever
touched his head because he has been set apart to God. He reveals, “If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me and I would become as weak as any other man.”
That was it. I wonder if there was a thunderbolt in the sky, or the
weeping of an angel, as the heavens witnessed the weakness of Samson? Or was there laughter from the pit of hell, as one of Lucifer’s demons brought him the good news of Samson’s admission?
After he fell asleep, likely relieved from finally spilling his big
secret and overjoyed the nagging was over, Samson snored through the world’s most famous shear. Tragically, his “strength left him,”and when he woke up and attempted to fight back, “He did not know that the Lord had left him.” How tragic the shame and sorrow of Samson in that moment when he realized he had failed his God.
However in my view, the most important part of this story is often
overlooked. If we never remember another thing about Samson, I hope we’ll recall verse 22. Don’t miss what it says: “But the hair on his head began
to grow again after it had been shaved.” Notice the incredible grace of God.
The Bible never mentions Samson even seeking forgiveness. He never said, “Lord I have really messed-up and let you down. I am so sorry.” No. But even in spite of Samson’s lack of repentance toward a Holy God, his hair begins to grow back. This is indeed the mercy and grace of the Lord. So how much more will God show mercy as we actively seek forgiveness from him?
Two things are crucial to note. First, after the haircut and loss of
strength, the hair grows back because God allows it to. Does Samson still
deal with the consequences of his sin? Absolutely, he is blinded and sent to
prison. But the very thing God took away from Samson, he returned to him…his strength.
Second, Samson allowed his hair to grow back. Well, that’s silly you say? Is it? Samson could have said, “I am unworthy to regain my God given strength. I will not allow myself restoration. I will not allow my hair to grow back.” Still sound absurd? Don't we constantly give ourselves haircuts? We sin, we mess-up, we seek forgiveness and are blessed to receive God’s mercy, and what do we often do next? We keep focusing on the sin experience. Once we bring it to the throne of God and repent, it is done, thanks to the work of Jesus. So why keep focusing on it? When your sin is addressed with God, move forward, and stop cutting your own hair. Must we seek humility? Yes. But we must stop condemning ourselves. We have an enemy that loves to do this and makes a full-time job out of it. We should not continue telling ourselves how unworthy we are for sin that has already been confessed and addressed. Scripture shouts this to us. There is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 8:1).
That night lying in Andy’s bed after his remarks about the way God
created me and how Andy loved me for it, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Andrew,
let Jesus down from the cross.” Meaning, I am not living like Christ rose from
the dead and conquered sin and death for someone like me. He is no longer
hanging on that cross...He lives. Why don't I live in celebration of that?
The Bible says we “are salt and light.” Not should be, could be, may be with
enough knowledge, or can be by being in church every Sunday. We are salt and light now, already, if we have Christ as our savior. Consider these promises:
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
Though they are red as crimson they shall be like wool” (Isaiah
“As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our
transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
“You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the
depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).
With promises like these, is there really any reason for us to keep
cutting our own hair? God is willing to let it grow back…are