Identity, Jesus
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The Haman in all of us and how Jesus​ frees us from him

© September 27, 2018 | Schulter Etyang 

In all of us is a Haman. Haman? Who is Haman?

Haman in Jewish folklore is the man who plotted against the Jews, to destroy them. He hated the Jewish people and conjured a plan to have all of them destroyed. His real irk, however, was against Mordecai. Haman had been promoted by the king and had a seat above all princes. Whenever the king’s servant saw him they would bow down before him to show respect. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect. When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he became mad. And it’s at this point when he came up with a plan to destroy the Jews – a  plan that was later sanctioned by the king.

This same scene plays itself out later. Haman was invited to the palace to a banquet. He was the main guest. As he left the party, he saw Mordecai sitting at the palace gate, not standing up or trembling nervously before him, Haman became furious. He went to his house and, called for his friends and his wife Zeresh. He started speaking about all his great wealth, family and accomplishments and then made this astonishing statement, then he added, “But this is all worth nothing as long as I see Mordecai the Jew just sitting there at the palace gate.” (Esther 5:13 NLT)

Haman, C’mon. Are you kidding me? Seriously?

In all of us is a Haman. Haman represents in us the deep yearning for validation and adulation because of our acquisitions and accomplishments. We all want someone outside of us to validate us, and when we don’t get the validation and adulation we think we deserve, all hell breaks loose.

Here’s why we get so angry? We have placed our identity, worth, and significance in our acquisitions and accomplishments – things we have or have done – these things define us, and when no one validates them, we become murderous, literally.

Haman represents in us the deep yearning for validation and adulation because of our acquisitions and accomplishments.

You might read this and go like, Nah, I’m not Haman. Yes, you are. 

How defensive and reactive are you when your parenting skills are called into question? You have always believed that you are the best parent ever. But a situation arises that questions your parenting skills – a suggestion that you could have dropped the ball.

What if no one validates your skills and educational levels? Your beauty? Your career? Your bank account balance? Your wealth? Your spirituality? Your morality? Your weight? Your exercise regime? Your diet plan? Your age? Your experiences? Your gender? Your sexuality? Your hard work? Your professional career? Your marriage? Your kids? And the big one, your race, and ethnicity?

How do you introduce yourself? My name is Schulter and I am a …….. fill in the blanks. How you introduce yourself to others – especially to people you are trying to please – points us to what defines your identity, worth, and significance.

This happens too – you surround yourself with people who reinforce what gives you identity, worth, and significance. Haman had his wife and friends for comfort. The unfortunate thing is this, your friends will inevitably spur you on to do unimaginable things. Haman’s wife and friends encouraged him to build a gallows to hang Mordecai, which later was used for his hanging.

Here is where Jesus steps in.

Jesus by his grace offers all of us an identity, worth, and significance that does need validation and adulation from outside. How did he do that?

Like Haman, Jesus also had divine privileges. He was the Son of Most High God. Jesus was far greater than the angels and had a name greater than their names. All of God’s angels worshipped him. He had a throne that endured forever and ever. He laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with his hands. He had a place of honor at God’s right hand.

And yet, Jesus he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8 NLT) A criminal’s death on a cross? Jesus actually took the place of Haman in the gallows. He took the place of the guilty though he was innocent.

Why? So that we would never suffer the same fate that befell Haman. Most importantly, in that exchange where he took our place (guilty) and we took his place (innocent), we receive his identity, worth, and significance as our own.

In receiving Jesus’ identity, worth, and significance, we are freed from the need for validation and adulation from outside because the only validation and adulation we need is from our heavenly Father. Jesus’ offer has eternal value. In heaven’s precincts, you have worth and significance, and heaven’s opinion of you is what really matters at the end of the day. 

In receiving Jesus’ identity, worth, and significance, we are freed from the need for validation and adulation from outside because the only validation and adulation we need is from our heavenly Father.

It really doesn’t matter to a little girl what other kids think of her. The only thing that matters to her is her father’s validation and adulation.

That’s what grace looks like

This entry was posted in: Identity, Jesus

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Schulter Etyang leads The Life Place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Schulter is one whom Jesus loves. He loves his wife, Jenny, and enjoys reading, travelling, cooking, running and playing squash. He also enjoys conversations with friends about Jesus and about life.

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