Scripture: Luke 7:41-50; Esther 3:1-6
During the season of Lent, we are doing a sermon series called Seven, where each week we are examining one of the seven deadly sins and pairing it with its counterpart found among the seven cardinal virtues. Last week, we talked about lust and chastity. This Sunday we are talking about the deadly sin of wrath and the cardinal virtue of justice.
The story of Esther saving the Jews is one of the most celebrated events in the Jewish calendar with the festival of Purim. This is the first example in the Bible of the attempted genocide of the Jewish people. Sadly, Esther is not merely a cautionary tale of what could possibly happen to you if you are Jewish. It represents a reality that the Jewish people have had to endure for 1000s of years. Every few generations, it seems there is a renewed effort to wipe the Jews off the face of the planet. For some reason, the Jews have been a continuous target of great wrath.
When you feel wrath for someone, you don’t just want to hurt them, you want to hurt everyone connected to that person. When a person feels wrath, it means that you’ve been wounded deep within your soul. They’ve touched on something so sensitive that you lose track of all logic and reason. You feel nothing but the emotion of pure hatred and you will do anything to make sure that they understand how deeply you have been offended.
In the story of Esther, Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman because his religion will not allow it. Rather than show understanding, Haman takes Mordecai’s refusal to bow very personally. He loses track of all logic and reason. Haman can’t see Mordecai’s refusal as anything but an affront to his power. Clearly, Haman feels very insecure in his power. Even though droves of people treat him with a great deal of respect and deference, when this one guy refuses to bow to him, it’s enough to make him feel like he’s shown no respect at all.
We are given no real background about Haman’s life that would tell us where this insecurity comes from, but this Sunday we’re going to explore the childhood of someone who has a very similar profile. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Spring will be here in just a few days!