With more and more heated discussion everyday around Same Sex Marriage, the Safe Schools Program and the aggressive push of LGBTI ideology everywhere we turn; it is not surprising that many of us feel like we’re under siege and constantly navigating a minefield of political correctness.
It is a constant and exhausting dance of:
- Patiently listening while being cut off when you try to express your position.
- Moderate and legitimate questions about insubstantial or non-proven data that get thrown back at you with a swift “bigot’ or ‘homophobe’ comment.
- Then finally, peacefully and lovingly absorbing and forgiving others hurtful derision and abuse while being called a coward and weak for doing so.
Some days it is easier to just be quiet, rather than go through the same predictable pattern all over again. For some of us, we have been nothing but quiet, cowed by witnessing what our fellow brothers and sisters are experiencing.
It is so easy to give into fear and slip like a ghost through our workplaces, social settings and friendships, avoiding those thorny subjects that get people riled up, and (as we’re seeing more and more evidence of) can see us taken to court on discrimination charges and even lose our jobs.
While all of this is nothing new and the bare tip of the iceberg for persecuted Christians all over the world, it is scary and confronting for those us who have never been refined by this type of fire before.
I will be the first to admit that I am at times guilty of ghosting, especially in my place of work, and it is something the Holy Spirit has recently been challenging and prompting me on.
My favourite book of the Bible has always been Esther. The original Cinderella story of commoner to queen who then goes on to be not only one of the most beautiful woman of Persia, but also one of the bravest.
As I have matured in my walk, I still love Esther for her beauty and her bravery, but now more recently, I have developed a deeper understanding of her and her flaws. I will still never be a great beauty or a queen called to save a nation, but for the first time in my life I see myself in her; in her fear, and in the lessons the Lord teaches us about his providence through her.
Esther is the ultimate example of a deeply flawed, but in the end godly woman, forced to keep her identity hidden due to the political environment of the time. And it is not just her job and reputation on the line, it is her life.
In the beginning she is rather ambivalent towards the plight of her fellow Jews, and is content to hide in the shadows, keeping her identity a secret, even initially refusing Mordecai’s request for fear of her life. It is not until Mordecai reminds her that she will not preserve her life by doing nothing (4:12-14) that she promises to go before the king, even if it means her death (vv. 15-17).
To conquer her fear, she first had to find confidence in God’s providence; in the truth that He is always working for the good of His people and His glory.
I just recently re-watched “One Night with the King” – a wonderful adaptation of the book of Esther. Although there is some creative license taken in the relationship between King Xerxes and Esther, it still holds close to the biblical account.
One of the most powerful scenes of the movie is right near the end when Esther reveals to Xerxes and Haman that she is a Jew and pleads for her life and the lives of her people.
Queen Esther: Let my life be given me, at my petition and my people at my request
King Xerxes: You demand me your life, and that of your people? My dear girl, I know not of your people, you have yet to tell me who they are.
Queen Esther: Have we been merely sold as slaves? I would have held my tongue, This… This Haman wanted our blood, my blood, the blood of Jacob, your Jacob. Your Jacob was given a new name, Israel. As to, was I.
King Xerxes: You… Esther, a Jew?
Queen Esther: Not Esther, my lord, Hadassah Batabihan, Daughter of the tribe of Benjamin, Child of the Most High God.
It never fails to give me goosebumps, how in that moment, she threw her very life upon the providence of God, making a declaration that could see her executed.
It is in this moment that King Xerxes’ question of Esther’s identity (which is a running theme throughout the movie) is finally answered.
Who is Esther?
She is a child of the Most High God.
Her courage in the face of almost certain death shames me for my hesitation at times to engage in discussions around emotionally charged topics. I must remember, we must remember, that as His people, He is always watching over us (Matt. 10:29–31) and that we must trust in the Lord and do the right thing.
I am continuously striving to apply the teaching of Esther to my life and am no longer ducking my head down when the tough subjects arise. Instead, I am faithfully and lovingly outing myself as a pro-lifer, a supporter of traditional marriage, and through the redemptive work of Jesus’s death on the cross, a child of the Most High God.
Rosie Timmins attends Donvale Presbyterian Church and is AP’s Social Media Coordinator.