By Jessica McKillip
“Then Haman said, ‘Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the feast she prepared. And tomorrow also I am invited by her together with the king. Yet all this is worth nothing to me, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.’ Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged upon it. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast.’ This idea pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.”Esther 5:12-14
Today, we’re going to focus on the little known character, Zeresh, Haman’s wife. In the fifth chapter of Esther we find Haman in his position of power and wealth. He’s invited to a private feast with just the king and queen. Not once, but twice! And yet, he can’t even enjoy his greatness because Mordecai the Jew refuses to give him the honor that Haman believes he deserves. So Haman complains to his wife and friends. Their suggestion? Build a gallows. Hang Mordecai. Then go joyfully with the king to the feast. Haman’s wife encourages her husband to do the one thing she already knows he wants to do–kill the Jews, and to start with Mordecai the very next day.
Zeresh’s words are escalating Haman’s hatred. Paul writes in Ephesians that our words are to be used to build others up . . . not to escalate hatred.
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.Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Our workbook had us answer the question: how do you use your personal gifts—mind, talent, energy, education, and spiritual discernment— to build up your relationships?
- mind—the element or complex of elements in an individual that feels, perceives, thinks, wills, and especially reasons (Merriam-Webster). Am I using my mind, thoughts to build up those around me?
- talent—a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude; general intelligence or mental power; the natural endowments of a person (Merriam-Webster). Am I using my talents or aptitudes in a way to build up my family, my neighbors, or my city?
- energy—the capacity of acting or being active (Merriam-Webster). Those “don’t talk to me before coffee” memes are funny, but is that the energy I want to be giving to my family, my coworkers in the morning?
- education—the knowledge and development resulting from the process of being educated (Merriam-Webster). Am I learning and growing in a way that uplifts others?
- spiritual discernment— the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure : skill in discerning (Merriam-Webster). “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5. Am I asking God for wisdom in my interactions with others?
The next time you want to communicate, through words spoken or words written, ask yourself if the words you are speaking are helpful and beneficial to the listener
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)