Hey there, friends! We’re in the middle of a six-week Bible study, Esther: Trusting God’s Plan. If you don’t have the Bible study, you can still learn and be challenged from these Wednesday posts and the Women of the Bible podcast videos! — Samantha, LYWB.com blog content manager
It’s a lovely thing to relate to Esther’s character, isn’t it? She’s obedient. She’s brave. She’s beautiful, and people adore her. We probably don’t think we share many characteristics with Haman though, do we?
I mean, he was conniving, mischievous, power hungry, and plotting mass genocide . . . so, yeah, no, we don’t really want to find many relatable qualities there.
But this week’s study lesson had me asking: Do I see any Haman in my heart?
- What people or situations am I seeking to control?
- How am I grasping for power?
- When others don’t do things my way, do I get frustrated and angry?
- Am I willing to cut down others in order to elevate myself?
- Do I have manipulative tendencies?
If I’m honest with myself before a holy God, I start to see those same sinful qualities in my own life. Pride and selfishness can creep into our hearts with dangerous subtlety, and that sinful mindset can motivate us to do ugly things that harm others and grieve our Father.
Critical Character Comparison
Let’s go even deeper with this character analysis. This week’s lesson listed several qualities that we see in the lives of the people in the book of Esther, and this comparison is a helpful diagnostic tool that we can apply to our own lives. What qualities do you see in your life?
King Xerxes and Haman
- Insecure about losing their prestige and position
- Driven to control others
- Arrogant and proud
- Not self-controlled
- Influenced by the opinions of others
- Protective of reputation and image
- Centered their worlds around themselves
- Insulated themselves from the plight of others
- Used their position to serve themselves
- Controlling of others
- Emotionally unstable
- Exalted themselves, therefore God humbled them
Mordecai and Esther
- Nothing to lose, therefore nothing to fear
- Willing to be under God’s control
- Humble and meek
- Driven by principle
- Protective of others
- Aligned themselves with God’s plan
- Identified with the plight of others
- Used their position to serve others
- Sought to serve others
- Emotionally stable
- Humbled themselves, therefore God exalted them
Jesus Can Make Your Character Beautiful
So if those lists revealed a big, bad Haman heart, here’s what we don’t do: beat ourselves up or try harder to be better. Instead, we repent, then we ask Jesus to help us “put off” sin and “put on” His holiness.
We rely on His grace to transform us into His likeness. (Thank goodness, because have you tried to ditch sin without His help? It’s one of the most maddening exercises in frustration. He’s ready with His strength, mercy, and grace, though!)
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:17–32, emphasis added)
It’s Jesus and His righteousness that can change our hearts, one day at a time, to help us resemble and reflect the selfless humility, strength, and goodness we see in Esther’s life.
Join my good friends Erin Davis, Betsy Gómez, and Carrie Gaul for a practical discussion of the truths and principles we find in Week 3 of the study!
Here’s a question for you to consider and answer:
Do I identify with any of the “Haman” tendencies of controlling people and situations, grasping for power, or erupting with anger?
Keep digging into Esther: Trusting God’s Plan, and I’ll see you next Wednesday for Week 4!