"Queen Esther invited me to a private dinner she gave for the king, just the three of us. And she's invited me to another one tomorrow. But I can't enjoy any of it when I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King's Gate." Esther 5:13 (MSG)
There are certain individuals who drive me absolutely crazy. I mean to tell you there are people I can't stand. In fact, I can look back and name off a list of people from childhood to the present day who got under my skin in one way or another. In some cases, like Haman's hatred of Mordecai, I found the object of my frustration disrespectful, insolent and insubordinate. In other cases, there have been individuals who were hurtful to me in some way. Sometimes the reason for my dislike is rooted in personality differences. In still other instances, I can't find a reason for my personal disdain other than a simple "I don't like him."
It is in these day-to-day, interpersonal conflicts that the teaching of Jesus is so critically important. "Love your enemies," "turn the other cheek," and "bless those who curse you," are among the most difficult of Jesus' directives to obey when faced with a person whom we feel so justified in our animosity. We can see, however, in the story of Haman, the tragic ends of unbridled hatred. I must confess that I look at Haman and see my own reflection.
Living out love, forgiveness and grace frees us from an invisible prison of the soul in which our spirit will, otherwise, surely whither into shadow.