Many times we can learn a great deal when we study the villain in a story. Haman is a classic villain in the drama of Esther. He is full of himself and is driven by the need to be idolized by everyone. His entire self-concept is wrapped up in the notion that every person in the kingdom bows before his presence.
Can’t you just picture the scene in your mind? Haman enters the picture and the people fall to the ground in waves. With every prostrate subject that falls, another pump of pompous air rushes into the ego of Haman’s head. He struts before the abject masses, gloating his superiority. And then, pop! There is a burst in the bubble. There is a wrinkle in the perfect picture. The air begins hissing out of Haman’s ego as he stares across the crowd at one lone figure who is…standing. Mordecai! That one man; that insolent creature who dares defy Haman’s magnificence! No one will stand in Haman’s way. Mordecai will pay! Play the dramatic music.
Isn’t that exactly what pride does to us? Pride is a self-focused attitude. When pride rules our lives we must be in control of our circumstances. We must be in control of the people around us. Our agendas must rule the day. Pride is all about control. With pride there is no room for loving the other. The other is simply a means to our self-appointed agenda. With pride there is no room for varying opinions or competitive viewpoints. With pride all opposition must be eliminated. With absolute pride and absolute control come absolute corruption and the propensity to take any measure – even the eradication of a race — to preserve the desired self-image.
How much control does pride have on your life today? Are you able to lovingly entertain ideas that are contrary to your own? Are you able to share the spotlight with others or even, heaven forbid, admit that others are better or more qualified in something than you are? Are you able to share your burdens with others and allow them to see your weaknesses so that they can hold you accountable and prop you up in times of weakness? Are you able to keep your mouth closed when it is not your turn to speak and let someone else have an original idea without stealing some of their thunder?
If you said no to any of these questions, then you may be struggling with pride. Hear this, the person who walks with pride will always get hung on his own gallows.
Ultimately pride is a form of deception. It is lying. No one is as good or as competent or as powerful as pride presents us to be. The projection of pride is a false projection and a lie. Lies breed lies. Truth speakers expose lies. Liars try to silence truth speakers. There is conflict, there is bloodshed, and ultimately, when pride is unchecked, there is tragedy.
The antithesis of pride is humility. Humility is not weakness, it is truth. Humility speaks the truth in all circumstances. Humility says, “I am good at this, not so good at that. You are good at this and I applaud you for it. Let me do this and you do that. Together we can make a great team.”
Mordecai was a truth speaker. He was a humble man who patiently did what was right, and in the end was exalted.
Where are you today? Are you more like Haman, building gallows somewhere to preserve your all-important image. Or are you like Mordecai, content with being a lowly truth-speaker, patiently waiting on the sovereign hand of God to do His work in His timing?