I love being invited to a party. It says something to be invited, right? It says “You are wanted!” “We want to be around you!” “We want you here!” An invitation conveys feelings of just being wanted. And that feels good!
There are two sides to this invitation coin. I’ll only cover one here.
I remember one year for my birthday, I planned on having a party…in my head. You see…I never told my parents. I never told my friends. And of course, as you can likely guess, I did not send out invitations to let them know I wanted them there. So imagine my disappointment when no one showed up! If I wanted them there, I had to invite them! Duh!
As with many other details in life, what we say and do happen not in isolation. They happen within the realm of everyone else. It opens the door for the enemy when what we say and do are done poorly. Like an invitation, it is just inviting the enemy to come and have a party with you. Only this party isn’t the good kind.
This week in the kid’s ministry we are exploring the story of Esther, Mordecai, King Xerxes, and Haman and I want to share some of it here as well. The short version of the story is Esther and Mordecai are Jews living within the Persian empire. Esther is the queen of Xerxes. And Haman is our antagonist who hates the Jews. To understand Haman, we need to look back a little into his lineage. In Esther 3:1 he is introduced as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. He was likely a descendant of King Agag who was king of the Amalekites, who were forever enemies of the Jewish people.
Bottom line, he hated the Jews, plotted to kill them, and in the process, got himself killed. That’s the story in a nutshell.
I want to focus on the invitation ingredient here. Now, I like to give the villains in a story some benefit of the doubt. No one starts out being a villain. They aren’t born that way. They are more likely formed into a villain based on their responses – what they say and do. It starts with one response, poorly made. A decision to lie, maybe. Since we are talking about honesty all month long, let’s stop here for a moment and look at Haman.
We don’t know any more about his past. What we do know is that the start of his demise begins with a poor response. He lies. Or rather, he hides the truth, which in my opinion, is the same. In Esther 3:8-9, Haman approaches the king and tells him that a certain people have different laws and do not observe the king’s laws.
Notice what he left out? He left out the ethnicity. He purposely did not tell the king this information. Why? Bible doesn’t say. But we can postulate that from his encounter with Mordecai at the beginning of chapter 3 that his motives were not pure, but sadistic. He wanted Mordecai dead. And sought to do that through the genocide of the Jews.
It was just a small lie, really. I mean, it’s not like it was a blatant untruth, just leaving a little bit out. It won’t hurt anyone, right? Isn’t that how we rationalize it? It hurt Haman and his family. And it all started with an invitation. You see, Haman’s masking of the truth opened the door. It was an invitation for much darker things to enter. And while the Bible does not say something entered Haman, we can read that he progressively became more prideful, hateful, and filled with rage and anger. It’s this fixation on killing one Jew (Mordecai) that leads him to be filled with so much evil.
But he didn’t get there all at once. It started with an invitation.
When we are not true, when we mask the truth, when we are dishonest, when our response is bad, we send out an invitation to the enemy. We open the door and say “Come on in! I want you here!” (sorry…a little sarcasm) But seriously! It’s as if we are giving him permission, an open invitation. I cannot speak for you, but in my experience, when I have failed in my responses (in what I say and do) it always brings something else. Often it’s pride. And pride gets ugly and leads further into the dark side (Star Wars reference there!) It’s a progression, a slow fade that draws us away from God and closer to the enemy.
It starts with an invitation.
In what we say and do, let’s be true. On the journey we are on, the race we are running, let’s be honorable in what we say and do. The little ones that we lead are watching us! Let’s not leave the door open and send out an invitation to the enemy. But let’s invite someone else in!
What about the Holy Spirit? Hmm…Sounds like another post to me!