Thursday, 2 October 2014

Evil begets evil...and pride comes before a fall...

Haman is full of himself, boasting about his position and achievements, and yet he is still not satisfied: Mordecai is spoiling his perfect life, his perfect view of himself by refusing to honour him: " “On top of all that,” Haman continued, “Queen Esther invited me to a private dinner she gave for the king, just the three of us. And she’s invited me to another one tomorrow. But I can’t enjoy any of it when I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King’s Gate.”

How often do I let something 'small' - big to me, but 'small' in the big picture of things - get to me? Pride can have such a hold because it attacks us in deep places, places inside ourselves which we don't even know we have. Like having bookshelves in the cellar filled with books we wouldn't want others to see that we read: every time we let a sinful thought occupy our minds with attractive lies, we put another book on the shelf, instead of grabbing hold of it and burning it up so we are not tempted to look inside again.

Pride is like the love of money which leads us into all kinds of evil: and so with Haman:

His wife Zeresh and all his friends said, “Build a gallows seventy-five feet high. First thing in the morning speak with the king; get him to order Mordecai hanged on it. Then happily go with the king to dinner.”
Haman liked that. He had the gallows built."     Esther 5:12 - 14

Cold-blooded, outright murder. And what is just as shocking is that Haman's wife and friends suggested this to him.

I trust my husband to pull me up when I am out of line. I WANT to get it right and trust him to help me do so. He has done it,  many times. I don't like it at first, feeling misunderstood, judged, found wanting, even opposed...but, when I admit my pride in my own self-righteousness, I am often forced to admit that he is right.

Proverbs 14:22 reminds: "It’s a mistake to make evil plans, but you will have loyal friends if you want to do right."

And I do the same for him. We have, in the past, have had many 'discussions' during these times of stress. Perhaps Zeresh just wanted an easy life. Perhaps she was bullied. Perhaps she and Haman's friends were so fed up with him, going on and on about Mordecai, that they thought this would put an end to it. And, of course, the cultural context was a brutal one: why not, indeed, just get rid of anyone you didn't like, if it was within your power? "The proud and arrogant man...behaves with insolent fury."

Haman was, after all, the second most powerful man in the kingdom.

As for me: another interpretation of Proverbs 21:24 says: If you are proud and conceited, everyone will say, “You’re a snob!”

Warning enough.

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