Monday, September 7, 2009

Ester 5:11-14, Part Two


The first thing that really struck me about these verses is the part that Haman's wife played. I don't know about you, but I was very convicted!

The second thing is equally convicting and probably more far-reaching than the first. I want to focus on Haman's obsession with Mordecai. Remember that most of this stuff is from Beth Moore's study called, "Esther."

The relationship between Haman and Mordecai is paramount in the book of Esther. Haman hates Mordecai and is obsessed with killing him, in part because Mordecai loves God and refuses to bow to him. Haman has everything he could possibly want, including being second in command to the King, but none of that matters because he is so obsessed with Mordecai. Beth says, "We've arrived at the spot where I was most tempted to confuse Haman with myself. I have been in this spot, letting my preoccupation with one solitary person steal the joy that countless others brought me."

How about you? Have you ever been so preoccupied with the negativity of one person that you forgot about all the positive things in your life? Have you ever been so consumed with one person that how you feel about EVERYTHING depends on whether you see them or not? Does your mood change based on their presence? Does unforgiveness lead to irrationality in your life? You are no longer able to see clearly or have "normalcy" because everything is filtered through your unforgiveness?

Beth says, "One of the most eye-opening things God has shown me about bondage is that we can become addicted to a person. Haman was addicted to Mordecai. He couldn't quit thinking about him. Haman's hatred of Mordecai became a mental preoccupation and so caused the most outrageous irony of all: Haman bowed down to Mordecai. Make no mistake, we serve whatever masters us, and nothing masters us more completely than the person who refuses to bow to our rights, desires, or demands. We become fixated on the one from whom we cannot get what we want."

"We tend to picture bondage in terms of an addictive substance, a compulsive behavior, or looming feeling like unforgiveness. I don't think we realize our stronghold can be a person until it is one. A person becomes a snare to us any time he or she consumes an excessive and unhealthy space in our thoughts, whether negative or positive."

"We form mental strongholds toward those who won't give us what we want or need. Sometimes they quit giving us something they once supplied and we want it back. Perhaps they broke the rules of our relationship. Very often our people-snares are those who make us feel out of control with our emotions. They are the ones around whom we are most compelled to perform or, worse yet, make fools of ourselves. We see both of these subtle elements in Haman. The people who have become the biggest snares to us are the ones about whom we're most prone to say, 'I never act this way with anyone else!'"

She goes on to give a few examples:

"We go to a great party but we can't have a good time because our "person" either didn't show up or didn't pay attention to us. Mind you, this could be someone we hate but we still want to control.

God is putting our lives back together after a terrible betrayal. Ample time has passed and God has gifted us with a wonderful person. We can't be happy with the terrific person who has accepted us, however, because we're still fixated on the person who rejected us."

Take a minute and think about your life and the people in it. Is there anyone that you are obsessed with, either positively or negatively? How much of your thoughts are consumed by them?

Part of the reason I'm sharing all this is because I have fallen victim and I'm pretty sure you have too. Because our world is so difficult and ministry is sometimes even more difficult, I know that this is a widespread problem. I know the pain we carry. I know our thoughts can become out-of-control.

Here's some practical help from Beth:

1. "We need to let Haman's stronghold make us aware of our own. Realize our preoccupation with that person is probably painfully obvious to the people around us just as Haman's was to Zeresh and Haman's friends. Embarrassment is our friend when we let it motivate us to change.

2. Let's decide today that we no longer want to be mentally snared by that person and agree with Christ to do what is necessary to bring our thoughts captive to the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5).

3. If this is what you desire, articulate your agreement with God. Rehearse in His ear what we thought we needed from the person who has preoccupied us and kept us from enjoying what so many others offered.

4. Now, let's ask ourselves an honest question. If we got what we needed or wanted from the person of our preoccupation, would it "fix" us? In the best case scenario, perhaps something they could do or say might help, but could they truly fix what was broken enough to cause the preoccupation?"

5. Finally, what do you think has been the root of your preoccupation with this person?"

"God is the only One who can tend to the secret places where pain calls to bondage. Would you let Him minister to you there and begin the healing process? Admitting we have an area of brokenness is a huge step toward wholeness."

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