Don’t be Fooled by Pleasant Words


Esther 5:14
Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits.” This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.


Haman spent time with his wife and other friends who kept reinforcing his opinions. Nobody was willing to suggest that he had a bad idea and so they fed his ego and his thoughts. He hatched a plan. If Mordecai was so despised, why not guild a gallows on which to hang him? 

Haman had been invited to a banquet by Queen Esther and this made him feel assured that he was a significant part of the inner circle. It also gave him the false confidence that he was more powerful than he actually was. That’s why it was so easy to embrace advice that made him feel good. His wife and friends were simply pleasing Haman and being sufficiently fooled by their advice, he ended up building the very gallows on which he himself would hang. 


We all need people who will speak into our lives, but they don’t need to be saying things to tickle our ears. This can be a real problem for people in leadership, who need to have honest advisors, those willing to challenge them. The problem comes when a leader is surrounded by those who are seeking their own piece of the power and think the best way forward is to encourage, rather than challenge, the ideas of the one in charge. 

Creating a safe environment for open and critical conversation is not easy. The church ought to be one of those places where we can ask one another difficult questions without the fear of retribution. Spiritual growth and development is not something that happens in a vacuum. As followers of Christ we must be vulnerable, allowing others to challenge the ways in which we may be thinking and acting. Having a defensive attitude toward truth will only deter people from coming to you again and possibly leave you with a fatal decision. 

Discernment is something that we all need to practice. Don’t get fooled by the warm fuzzies! 


Lord, please help me to humbly accept the advice and comments that don’t necessarily make me feel good. Amen. 


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