Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hung From Our Own Gallows

I have never had Road Runner meat but it must be awesome.  What else would drive Wile E. Coyote’s obsession?  At some point in time he had to have either ate Road Runner meat, heard his grandfather tell of its delicacies, or maybe he’s just a loon and is fixated on the chase rather than the meat. 

You would think that he would give up.  But he doesn’t.  Year after year, episode after episode, Wile E. Coyote keeps setting traps that end in his demise. 

But that is what happens with an idolatrous obsession isn’t it?  With every “beep, beep” the Coyote gets further infuriated and redoubles his efforts to catch the uncatchable.  It doesn’t matter how many times his quest for that tasty blue meat drives him off a cliff.  He must have his desire fulfilled. 

Not About Addiction but Obsession

You probably think I am going to talk about some sort of addiction don’t you?Maybe.  But this is more of an obsession than an addiction per se.  I am talking about an obsession that manifests itself in judgmental actions stemming from a harsh and judgmental heart. 

We see it clearly in the life of Haman (of Book of Esther fame).  He is one of the Wile E. Coyote’s of the Old Testament.  Mordecai is the Road Runner.

The viewer is left uncertain of where this obsession with catching the Road Runner begins in the life of Wile E. Coyote.  Maybe it was a family tradition.  Perhaps he simply heard too man “beep, beeps”. 
The reader of the Old Testament does not have to wonder where Haman’s obsession with offing Mordecai comes from.  With Haman, Jew-hating is a family pastime.  It goes back as far as Saul’s (Israel’s first king) battles with Agag the king of the Amalekites.  This is an early version of the Hatfield’s v. McCoys, Palestine v. Israel, Browns v. Steelers.  Amalekites don’t like Jews.

Haman’s personal opportunity for offing the Jews comes when Mordecai refuses to pay homage to him.  Of course with Mordecai it’s nothing personal; he’s a Jew and Jews don’t bow to anyone except YHWH.  But with Haman it is personal.  And it becomes an obsession.  For four chapters we read of Haman plotting on the Jews and specifically focused on seeing Mordecai hanged. 

It doesn’t matter that people in his life are telling him that he is going overboard (see Esther 6:13).  He will not listen.  Mordecai must be hanged.  And not just hanged.  This is Haman pulling out all stops and buying the best materials from The Acme Corporation to make sure to get the job done.  He wants to see Mordecai hang from a 75 foot tall gallows.  That’s more than just perverted “justice”.  This is a rage filled obsession and a desire to make a public spectacle out of Mordecai’s shame-inducing refusal to pay homage. 

Hung From Our Own Gallows

Haman's story ends with him hanging from the very same gallows that he had built for Mordecai.  Not a good ending.

Apart from Jesus I’m certainly not innocent little Mordecai in this story.  I’m Haman--that will stop at nothing to see my desire for perverted justice fulfilled.  And sadly I see Haman crop in my heart from time to time even still.  Apparently I’m not alone.  Jesus warned in Matthew 7:1-2
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
In other words a judgmental heart puts you in danger of hanging yourself from your own gallows.  Just like Wile E. Coyote and just like Haman whenever I call the Acme Corporation to load me with ammo to bring down others I am in danger of having the best ACME has to offer come back on my own head. 

From this message I am putting a simple principle into my life--and I hope you see it reflected in my writing—I will give people the benefit of the doubt and “judge them” according to the measure that I would like to be judged.  And let me tell you I want a lot of grace.  I want truth.  I want to be righteous, holy, and pure.  And I want to want that for my brothers and sisters in Christ.  But I know in my own life that no matter how righteous, holy, and pure I am becoming that I am still but a man…and I’m a man that is desperately in need of grace.  I need others and especially the Lord Himself to remember that I am but dust. 
I have a few more thoughts on this that will have to wait for tomorrow…

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