not getting hung on your own gallows

Back in Queen Esther’s day, Haman thought he was “all that.”  Highest honor in the kingdom, king’s right-hand bro.  Hadn’t earned it.  Bible tells us zip about him, just that he got promoted to the highest position in the land, and that he was a big jerk.

Even though Haman had everything he wanted, had everyone looking up to him, thought himself “the Man” as he left Queen Esther’s banquet, he lost his “I’m so awesome” buzz when he saw Mordechai, Esther’s adoptive father.

Everyone else in the land bowed down to Haman; Mordechai did not.  He refused.  Bible doesn’t tell us why, probably because he could see right through Haman, knew he wasn’t worth the energy spent to bend a knee, the breath to offer a praise.  He was just a man, and not all that, regardless of what Haman thought.

But the fact that one person saw through him, one person refused to bow to him – MORDECHAI, the name kept him up at night; the sight of him after the banquet sickened him.  “The nerve!”  It infuriated him.  “The ingrate!”

And so, per his wife’s suggestion, he began to build a gallows.

Earlier, his disdain for Mordechai resulted in a national and irrevocable order to have all of the Jews killed, at a later date.  A date which was still months away, months for Mordechai not to bow.

“If he bugs you that much,” his wife told him, “just kill him.”

“Kill him?  Why hadn’t I thought of that?!”

Because Haman, you weren’t all that.

Haman built the gallows in pride.  Haman built the gallows in anger.  Haman built the gallows with hatred.  Haman built the gallows with a distorted sense of selfworth.  Haman built the gallows because he felt entitled.  Haman built the gallows because he was a big jerk.

In the end, thanks to God’s providence, it was Haman who hung on his own gallows, exposed for manipulating the king at the expense of innocent lives – you can’t just decide to kill a group of people because you didn’t like one person, at least not while Esther was queen.

Seventy feet up in the air Haman hung on his gallows, a writhing witness to the sin of pride, of egotism, of bigotry.  Haman hung on his gallows, which back then meant he was impaled on them – impaled because it took a person longer to die.

Where in your life are you struggling with pride?
Whom do you hate such that you would build the gallows for them?
Why do you let it ruin your life and theirs?

When we become so full of ourselves that we look with disdain on others; when we pick on others in order to feel better about ourselves; when we allow ourselves to hate with such passion that it rules our lives, we are building gallows.

But the warning that comes through Haman is that we must be aware, must realize that in the end, we could end up hanging ourselves on those gallows.

How do we issue the stop construction order?

Look to the one who hung not on gallows, but a cross.  Jesus treated everyone as better than himself; he got angry at hypocrites, and those who would exploit people in the name of religion, but not such that he would wish them dead, wish them hang.  Instead, he loved others such that he would willingly hang for them.  He gave his life to ruin for them, for us.

Quit wasting time building gallows; spend time carrying your cross instead – loving as Jesus loved, forgiving as Jesus forgave. 

You’ll be happier, when you get hung up on love, rather than your own gallows.

Sincerely Christian,
the Rev.

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