A Lesson From Haman
And Haman answered the king, For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Esther 6:7-9.
We have a lesson in honor here. We all know and we all delight in the ironic fall of Haman. Haman spelled out for the king what he considered to be an honor. Haman was then required to perform that feat of showing honor to his worst enemy. Let's ask ourselves a few questions here. Was Haman required to respect Mordecai? Was he required to love him? The answer for both questions is no. We do not have to love someone or respect someone in order to show them honor.
If you pastor a church like mine, days like Mother's Day bring conflicted thoughts. I have people in my church whose mothers were practicing prostitutes. I have people in my church whose mothers reminded them almost daily that they wish that they had aborted them. I have people in my church whose mothers abandoned them and have trouble about being reminded about them. We learn a little lesson from Haman. He was not required to show affection, respect or love. He himself had dictated the terms of honor. He was required to perform them.
Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth, Ephesians 6:2,3. These same people in my church are required to honor their mothers regardless of their mothers' past behavior. It is a relief to them when I point out that a Mother's Day card and a simple phone call can show honor. All too often I have people who dread opening the door to their mother for fear of the resulting chaos. They are commanded to honor them, not to reestablish familial ties.
When I first took this church, Hillary Clinton was our senator. Within a few years of taking it, Barack Obama was our president. I required that they be honored in our church. I did not require that people express admiration for them or that they endorse their policies. What I did require is that they would be given the full respect to which their office entitles them. We called her, Senator Clinton. Later when she ran for president, she herself desired to be called Hillary. At that point I allowed it.
I often told people that I wished Barack Obama would run for a third term so that I could vote against him again. Nevertheless, he was President Barack Obama within our meetings. I am a conservative American. I honor the offices of our constitutional government and woe unto them within my ministry who will not. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour, Romans 13:7.
When Carl Henry took over the Pacific Garden mission, in 1940 he wrote a history of the mission that is well worth reading. He described how that for years the mission had a sign above the pulpit which read, "Does your Mother Know where Your Are?" In the 1920s and early 30s, men would break down and sob at the thought of their long abandoned mother. By the late 1930s, Henry took the sign down. In too many cases the mothers were as bad as the sons.
In all too many cases today, grandmothers have brush cuts, blue hair and a live-in girl friend. Mothers are living with abusive boy friends, are substance abusers covered with tattoos and can give no emotional or moral help to their children. We must teach their children to show them honor. Otherwise their is no hope for a good life with the blessings of God.