j0196540.wmf (4774 bytes)I Am Haman
And I am arrogant!

I've bought into this idea that we need honor and praise from others. I thirst for it. I crave it. And it has become my undoing. In my quest for glory I set a trap and wound up being caught in it myself. Ego destroyed my life. Don't let it destroy yours.

Haman first came on the scene in Esther 3 when he was promoted to be the king's assistant. As we might imagine, many bowed to him and gave him honor. But in Esther 3:2, 5 Mordecai the Jew would not bow. Haman hated the fact that Mordecai wouldn't bow and he hated Mordecai. See Esther 3:6 and Esther 5:9. So intense was his thirst for honor that he sought to kill an entire race of people (the Jews) in revenge for not being honored. That is arrogance!

But Haman did something you might not expect from a person so prideful. In Esther 5:10 he restrained himself. But his restraint was not for righteousness sake. It was to pass time until he could do something about Mordecai. While in Esther 5:11-12 he arrogantly gloated about all his accomplishments, yet in Esther 5:13 he thought them all for naught because Mordecai would not bow before him. He eventually planned to have Mordecai hanged.

As the story unfolds we constantly see Haman's thirst for honor and his audacious haughtiness. In Esther 6:6-9 he presumed the king proposed to honor him, as though there were no other logical conclusion. But in verses 10-12 he was heartbroken as his prideful pursuit of esteem brought honor to the man he hated so much, Mordecai. The disaster pride brought in his life well illustrates the principles taught about pride elsewhere in scripture. For example, in Proverbs 13:1 pride is said to bring strife. In Proverbs 16:18 pride goes before a fall. Also in Mark 7:20-12 Jesus warns us that pride, among other things, defiles the man. How pride defiled Haman!

As his story goes on, he winds up in despair over the Mordecai situation. In Esther 7:1-6 he makes an appeal to Esther. In verses 7-8 the king catches him and misunderstands, thinking he meant to assault the queen. In verse 10 they hung Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Thus ended a life destroyed by pride.

It sounds as though pride is terrible in every way. Is there no good kind of pride? Is pride not needed in some areas of life? Do we not speak favorably of pride when we advise others to "take pride" in what they do? While we may use the term "pride" in a way meaning it to be positive, we're hard pressed to find the word used in a positive way in scripture. A word that is sometimes translated "pride" is also translated "excellency" and is used in a positive way of the greatness of God's people a few times. For example see Amos 8:7 and Nahum 2:2. But these instances scarcely represent what we think of as "good" pride.

Let's look at the idea of honor. In Proverbs 29:23 an humble person retains honor. Is it fair to say that honor involves a sense of dignity? Perhaps, since the Hebrew word is elsewhere used favorably of a godly person's character. But this is honor bestowed upon one by others, not pridefully heaped upon self. Consider Titus 2:7 which counsels young men to conduct themselves with gravity. The term translated "gravity" means, "the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty." Now we're getting somewhere. We can see this kind of dignity as a positive characteristic. Often when we say, "take pride" in yourself or what you do, we really mean conduct yourself with dignity. Perhaps we shouldn't use the word "pride", but the dignity concept is biblical.

So when you think of a sense of teamwork, accomplishment, achievement, working hard and similar ideas, you can think of dignity (positive "pride", if you will) and know we're talking about something God wants us to have. But we can never let ourselves fall into the common trap of doing these things for the glory of ourselves; for then we make Haman's mistake. And dignity becomes sinful pride which can destroy us.
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j0234752.gif (11394 bytes)Question
For This Study
We Are Married And We Are At Odds
Notice the imaginary conversation below, based on biblical fact. Think of who this might be and what might be wrong.

Her: I saw him carrying on the other day, jumping around and such. There were women present! I am NOT happy about this.

Him: You don't understand. I wasn't flirting. I was just...

Her: To make matters worse, he bought lunch for some women. Wine, women and song... That's him! I am so angry.

Him: But I was not flirting. I did it for God

Her: Dad never did like him.

Him: Are you jealous over the women or is it your Dad? Are you jealous for your Dad's sake?

Her: You shouldn't have done what you did.

Him: I stand my ground. I stand by what I did. My conscience is clean.

This couple seems to be at an impasse. It seems like their marriage is in trouble. Who are these people? And which one is right? Or, are they both wrong? What should they do?