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Gimme a Little Kiss: reflections on spiritual warfare
Saturday, November 5, 2022 by Becky Cerling Powers

My dad sang around the house a lot, and our family used to sing on car trips. One of the songs Dad used to jokingly sing to Mom was an oldie, first recorded in 1926, called “Gimme a Little Kiss” about a boy trying to convince a girl to kiss him. I always thought it was funny and cute.

Years later, though, when I had a teenage daughter, it struck me that behind the fun, this song is actually a nice study in some classic manipulative techniques. Both women and men use these tactics. Sometimes people are unaware, or only dimly aware, of what they are doing – except that, if they’re honest, they’ll admit they’re trying to overcome the other person’s resistance in order to get their own way. People also use these tactics to weasel out of their legitimate responsibilities.

Here’s the song:

(1)       Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?

(2)       What are you gonna miss, will ya huh?

(3)       Gosh oh gee, why do you refuse?

(4)       I can’t see what ya gotta lose.

(5)       Oh, gimme a little squeeze, will ya huh?

(6)       Why do you wanna make me blue?

(7)       I wouldn’t say a word if I were asking for the world,

(8)       But what’s a little kiss between a fellow and his girl?

(9)      Oh, gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?

(10)    And I’ll give it right back to you!

And here are some of the tactics:

(1) Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh? (2)       What are you going to miss, will ya huh?

Here, the message is: “What I’m asking for is minor.” And the implied message is, “What I want is so trivial that if you don’t give it to me, you’re being unreasonable.”

Underneath many of the lines of this song are implied accusations.

(3)        Gosh oh gee, why do you refuse?

(4)        I can’t see what ya gotta lose, oh

These two lines are a mild form of the message, “I feel terrible, and it’s all your fault,” which this guy is really going to sock home hard in line 6. Other implications: “You’re being unreasonable. You’re being unfair to me.”

These are accusations designed to make you feel guilty.

Until you become tuned in to these messages, they slip past your conscious mind and push your guilty button so that you react by doing what the other person wants before you even know that you absorbed an accusation. From a spiritual warfare point of view, these are the Accuser’s fiery arrows, designed to make you react and drop your defenses.

A manipulator will minimize his request (or demand).

In lines 2 & 4 (What are you going to miss…? I can’t see what you’re gonna lose…) the boy is minimizing his request saying or implying, “What I want isn’t very much…it’s nothing really,” while at the same time the tactics he uses indicate that what he wants is vital to his happiness. (He’ll repeat this double-message tactic in lines 7 & 8)

A manipulator will push, push, push. He will not respect your “no.”

(5) Gimme a little squeeze, will ya huh?

Same request, slightly different words. He wants intimate physical contact, and he won’t take no for an answer. He will nag, he will persist, he will wear this girl down by keeping after her.

And he uses self-pity to dump blame on his beloved.

(6) Why do you wanna make me blue?

Now the guy is really feeling sorry for himself. (“Poor pitiful me…”) The messages underneath are:

  • “You’re so mean” (only a mean person would want to make someone else feel as bad as you’re making me feel)
  • “Now see what you did?”
  • “It’s all your fault.”

The guy is saying, “Poor Me. I feel really, really bad. And you are the one responsible for making me feel this way.” This is a classic, manipulative (and effective) 1-2-3 punch of self-pity plus blame plus pushing off responsibility for one’s behavior onto someone else.

This works best on people who are sensitive, compassionate and conscientious. It twists the truth and uses people’s good intentions against them.

A manipulator uses double messages.

(7) I wouldn’t say a word if I was askin’ for the world,

(8) But what’s a little kiss between a fella and his girl?

In words this guy is saying, “I’m not asking for something big. What I want is really unimportant.” But his actions – his persistence, his use of blame and manipulation through guilt – give the contradictory message: “This is terribly important. You must give it to me because my whole happiness depends on this.”

So which is it? Important or unimportant?

(9) Gimme a little kiss, will ya huh?

More persistence, more nagging.

(10) And I’ll give it right back to you!

If nothing else works, he’ll use wit and charm.

********?

Here are clues to help you recognize when you may be being manipulated:

  • when you’re with the other person, you start feeling defensive and guilty
  • you find yourself saying yes when you want to say no
  • you feel torn in two by your yes
  • you feel like punishing the other person (sending them on a guilt trip or something) for your yes
  • you feel guilty when you think about saying no, so you say yes, even though your reasons for saying no haven’t changed
  • you feel guilty after saying no, so you give in and say yes; you’re not sure your reasons for saying no have changed; you’re just saying yes in reaction to feeling guilty

When you’re feeling guilty after an encounter with someone (or you’re feeling uneasy and defensive), you need to figure out what’s going on. Maybe this is true guilt, and maybe not. True guilt goes away after confession, God’s forgiveness, and, if appropriate, making amends.

If the encounter was manipulative, you’re probably feeling guilty because you’ve absorbed a hidden accusation.

You need to figure out what those underlying accusations were in order to untangle true or false guilt.

For example, go back, look at the words of the song, and see if you can find these hidden accusations embedded in the lines:

  • You’re mean
  • It’s all your fault.
  • My bad feelings are your responsibility
  • Poor, pitiful me.
  • It’s up to you to make me happy…
  • It’s up to you to solve my problem…
  • You’re unfair. I ask for so little, and you won’t give it to me.
  • Now see what you did.
  • You’re to blame.
  • You just want to….(fill in the blank: spoil my fun, make me sad, make me mad, etc. etc.)

You’re most apt to get trapped by manipulative accusations if you believe some of the common Lies That Trap. For example:

Lies That Trap

  • I’m responsible for the way he (she) feels
  • I’m responsible for his (her) moods.
  • It’s my responsibility to solve his (her) problems.
  • I’m only worthwhile when he (she) approves of me.

Truth That Frees

  • I’m responsible to behave in a kind, loving manner (but not responsible to achieve a certain response from someone else as a result of my behavior)
  • I’m responsible to speak the truth in love whether he (she) accepts my words or not.
  • I’m responsible for my own actions and attitudes and he’s (she’s) responsible for his (hers).
  • My value comes from Jesus, who gave His life for me. My value does not come from having the approval of other people.

You will begin to be able to recognize the messages when you allow the Holy Spirit to train you to notice the underlying assumptions of Lies That Trap, and when you ask the Lord to teach you to recognize hidden accusations by thinking through your reactions in past encounters.

You’ll be able to think more and react less.

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, as the writer of Hebrews told us to do (chapter 12), also helps to set us free from false accusations. For example, if you’re feeling guilty about saying no to a loved one, you can look at Jesus, who sets our standard. Did He ever say no to a loved one? Did He ever disappoint His loved ones? Did He ever do things they disapproved of?

He certainly did. Jesus was sinless, yet he disappointed his loved ones. Therefore, disappointing your loved ones isn’t automatically a sin, something you rightly feel guilty about.

Why did Jesus say no? Or disappoint? Or cause disapproval?

What were His principles, His standards in those situations? Learn from Him.

Of course, all of us are guilty at one time or another of trying to manipulate other people into giving us our own way. Men manipulate women – and other men. Women manipulate men – and other women. We don’t need to be any particular gender to be a manipulator. But we do need to be aware of our own sinful tendency to send these kinds of accusing messages to one another when we want our way.

Jesus, again, is our standard.

He did not manipulate people. He helped them define their choices. Then He respected their clear choices. He did confront people about their sin, which may have produced guilt feelings. But He did this, not to get His own way, but to point out obstacles in the way of their relationships to God and man. We must do the same.

Jesus gave no double messages, saying one thing and doing another. When He said yes, He meant yes. When He said no, that meant no. We must also say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no, then live out our stance with integrity. We need to respect each other’s no’s and yes’s, learning which issues are negotiable and which are not.

In our flesh, we are worldly and self absorbed.

Our unthinking, automatic response is to try to make people do it our way. Our unthinking, automatic drive is to seek our significance and self worth through ourselves (by making ourselves the center) or other people (by making another person the center) instead of through God.

Paul the apostle taught that we must not be conformed to the pattern of the world (our unthinking inclination) but instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our automatic responses must be retrained, and that is done through this process of learning to look to Jesus to help us recognize and turn away from false assumptions and false messages.

Lies and accusations are intertwined with what St. Paul called spiritual warfare

People refer to “Satan” as a proper name, but actually, in the original language of the Bible, he is referred to as the satan, a common noun. “The satan” means “the accuser.”

When you recognize an implied accusation, it can be helpful to speak it out loud – not in an accusatory way, but thoughtfully. Mirror the message like this: “So….what I’m hearing you say is ‘You spoil all my fun.’” Then leave it there. Articulating an implied accusation in a matter-of-fact manner brings it out into the open, where it loses the power of ambush and is forced to face up to truth/reality.

Resource: Variations of “Gimme a Little Kiss” on YouTube:

Frank Sinatra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP-9IMESfwM

Dean Martin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2P8IlbP1Hk

1926 Hits Archive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Kbl8vbmJc

Gimme a Little Kiss (1926) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2bO-dTA-X4

© 2021 Becky Cerling Powers Reprint with attribution only www.beckypowers.com

Becky Cerling Powers is the author of Laura’s Children: the hidden story of a Chinese orphanage as well as Sticky Fingers, Sticky Minds: quick reads for helping kids thriveShe blogs at www.beckypowers.com

“Gimme a Little Kiss” is part of a collection of stories describing and explaining the use of the spiritual weapons that the apostle Paul listed in Ephesians 6:10-20. This story describes using the Belt of Truth and the Shield of Faith to recognize and stand firm during a stealth attack using false accusations. To read the introductory story, enter its title “Family Conflict, Family Struggles” into the Search Bar. To find other stories in the series enter “reflections on spiritual warfare” into the Search Bar.

Note: Copyright date to Gimme a Little Kiss is January 6, 1926 so it went into the public domain January 1, 2022

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11/19/2019

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers
11/12/2019

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Jennifer Cummings
11/1/2019

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
Becky Cerling Powers
10/25/2019

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
10/22/2019

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Karen M. Pickett Ward
10/16/2019

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
10/8/2019

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs
10/2/2019

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Becky Cerling Powers
9/26/2019

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Paula Kortkamp Combs
9/24/2019

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
Retold by Becky Cerling Powers
9/9/2019

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Glen A. Hinshaw
8/20/2019