by Katie Delp
Do you remember Haman? He’s a character from the Book of Esther and the primary adversary against the Jewish people. To refresh your memory, King Xerxes of Susa had honored Haman, and the royal officials all bowed to him. However, it soon became apparent that Mordecai, a Jew, would not bow in the presence of Haman.
This did not make Haman happy. In fact, it made him so enraged that he devised a plan to not only punish Mordecai for his supposed disrespect, but to destroy all Jews throughout the kingdom.
It was this plan that initiated Mordecai to reach out to Esther and encourage her to stand up for the Jewish people in front of the King.
This summer, our church has been listening to a six-week series on the Book of Esther. I was invited to speak on Haman.
As I’ve become re-acquainted with Haman, I’m reminded that folks like him - eager to bring harm and oppression - pop up throughout history. We’ve witnessed their terrible legacies in our history books, and we’ve seen how their stories played out on the large-scale global stage. But I’m also aware that there are “Hamans” present in our lives. There are people stirring up trouble in our cities, at our jobs, in our children’s school. Everyday Hamans make plans destined for destruction.
It’s easy to become obsessed with the Hamans. We feel outrage or anger. We fear them. We want to inflict the same kind of hurt on them that we’ve seen them heap on us or others.
But the story of Esther offers us a different - more rooted - way to respond to those who come against us and others. She exemplifies a path that is rooted in her faithful connection to God, a supportive community, and radical kindness. And her approach is a response that results in impact.
I’m eager to unpack these examples of rootedness and how our responses to the Hamans can be deeper and more effective. This is the first post in a short series exploring “A Rooted Response.” We can learn from Esther’s example as we seek to respond in a faithful way to the evil plotters in our private and public lives.