How’s your heart?

Have you ever let anger choose the words that you shared with someone you love? I hate to say that I have, but of course, we have all at some time let our temper rage and take over our mouth. The problem with letting things out of our mouth is that it is a key indicator of something we may not have considered.

The Condition of our heart. God’s word tells us in Matthew 12:34 that out of the overflow of our hearts is what inevitably comes out of our mouth. If we don’t do regular heart checks we may find ourselves speaking from a place we would rather not be. A place of anger, hurt, and pain. Those places just end up being a transaction that causes those same feelings to be driven into someone else. Now two people are hurting and sometimes that hurt may not be fixable for that relationship. God can fix anything, but that doesn’t always mean it will be.

The study of Esther continues and as I spend more and more time in the word, I see more and more of the truths that God has so faithfully placed inside of us, there if we choose to seek it. It also means I see all of the things I so clearly need to work on. When we stumble (not if) we need to recognize that how we react and what we say has a direct relation to help us see what is causing us to sin.

What has been so great about this study is not just seeing God in so many little details, but being able to uncover the dark places in our lives that we can unfortunately relate to when we look at the perspective of the story’s villain. Haman.

Haman is a decedent of an evil people ( Amalekites ) that God had intended to wipe from the earth through King Saul. (You can find this in 1 Samuel) After King Saul chose not to eliminate them (more prideful behavior as he sought after the recognition of success from his men and not his God. (More on Ego and Pride here) That choice led to Haman, a decedent and a man who like his forefathers, hated the Jewish people. Not just hated, but Haman convinced the king that they were a threat and they needed to go. Mass genocide anyone?

Haman’s story unfolds as you see him allow anger, hatred, pride and ego to not only control his life but to direct all of the decisions he makes. You also get to see the pride before the fall. Today’s lesson was based on such a tiny, yet powerful passage of scripture, Esther 6:10-11. The act of honoring who he believed was his enemy.

For some context, yesterday’s scripture walked us through the King determining that he had failed to honor Mordecai, the Jew, for saving his life from his guards turned would be assassin. This revelation comes to the king just as Haman is getting ready to arrive at the palace to request that the king let him impale Mordecai on a spike that was about 7 stories high!

Lord, let my life, my words and my mere person never anger someone so much that they want to see my suffer the pain of not only death, but a slow death and the humiliation of being set before others exposed and disgraced because of who I am.

Haman didn’t just want to get rid of Mordecai and his people. He wanted him to suffer. In as many ways as possible. How often to we see someone as the enemy because they hurt us and instead of letting go, we hope that we can someone find a way to make them pay for the hurt, the pain and the trauma inflicted by their actions and words? Every single time I catch myself even thinking negatively about someone else, even for a second, I pause, breath and remember that I too have sinned, against a God who saved my life. And if God can look at me, a broken, imperfect human and see potential. If He can choose to allow me to cover myself in the forgiving blood of Christ, to be filled with His Holy Spirit and then go as far as to equip me to help others, I cannot, and WILL NOT choose to allow unforgiveness to be part of my life. (And it is a choice)

Today’s scripture verses forced Haman into a corner. The king asked him a question, and without thinking, assumed it was for himself. The question? What should the king do for someone he wished to honor? Well, Haman couldn’t think of anyone else the king would want to honor but himself.

Have you ever anxiously awaited someone, maybe your boss, to notice the good things you have done? Maybe you worked extra hard and you seek to have someone see that work was good? Trust me, I know I have. It can be hard to work to build something, put your heart and soul into it see it grow, see it successful and have the credit for what was done be taken by someone else. Or worse, never noticed at all.

This happens all of the time. What I realized is that no matter what happens in our lives, good or bad, God will work things out for good if we let him. The other realization was that we need to remember not to seek approval from the people of this world. It may be nice when it happens, but it can’t be counted on for any manner of happiness. The truth of the matter is that if we want to understand who we are, and truly seek the kind of recognition that is lasting, we need to seek the approval of our Creator. This world will just let us down.

Haman wanted to be recognized, more than he already had been. Instead, before he could even ask for Mordecai to be impaled on a stake (that he had already prepared!) he was called out to do all of the things to honor his enemy that he himself had wanted done for him. Talk about “Eating Crow”. Haman had to have known that as he paraded his enemy through the city, honoring him, that his plan to not only kill Mordecai, but all of the Jewish people, was in jeopardy. Certainly he wasn’t going to be able to pull this off now that the man he hated had been honored by the king!

I can only imagine what Haman felt that day. Humiliation, awkward anger that had to be restrained, and all of this compounded by his now broken ego, empty of the incessant need to be filled and noticed.

The struggle for me in this aspect is real. It probably is for you too. For me, always being small, not always being the smartest, and always being passed over by friends and even family as a kid made me wonder if anyone saw me at all. The problem with needing to be seen and then instead of being seen, suffering the humiliation of our anger and behavior is that we know, we probably earned it. Listen to me and hear me and know this:

God doesn’t make junk. God created you with purpose, and if you are breathing, he isn’t done yet!

The enemy uses our need to be seen as a weapon, helping us see what we do as a means of recognition. The first step in moving from needing to be seen to needing to serve is understanding that God made you for little and big things that could change the world that you occupy. HE SEES YOU!

So many incredible things happen when we shift our focus from needing the world to see us and knowing that our Creator sees us every single moment of our lives. Not only does He see us, but He cares, he sees the little things you do for others that no one will ever know about. And to God, every time you help someone His son died for (Every single person on earth) He is keeping track.

In all of my time in different stages of my life, my biggest gift that God has given me is knowing:

He sees me.
He loves me.
He wants me to complete His Work.
He will equip me to do so.
He is proud of me.

The biggest one? He forgives me. Whether I believe I deserve it or not. Grace is the most powerful thing that we have attached to that forgiveness. It is the most powerful we can give ourselves and others every single day.

You have more light inside of you then you know, and when you let yourself take your identity, your recognition and your acknowledgment come from God instead of this world, that light is going to shine brighter and brighter. Until nothing can stop you from sharing that light with others. That is the truth. Fill your heart with God’s recognition, with His love, and His light. Then from that, the overflow from your heart, and from your mouth can be assured to come from God, from His truth, from who you are in Him and not from this world.

God will equip us, heal us, recognize us, forgive us, and strengthen us in the refiners fire, if we let Him. It isn’t easy. It is a daily choice to choose Him over this world. But I can promise you one thing. It is worth it.

Shine on. God sees you. He made you. And He don’t make junk.

All my love and prayers for you today.

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