Poetic Justice and morality

Read Esther 6

Focus on verse 10

One of the literary forms that tend to make us feel as though all is well with the world is when read a story where the villain in the account reaps the full force of his own villainy. Something within us likes to see poetic justice, when the evil that a person is planning for an unsuspecting and/or innocent party comes back on the head of the one who planned it. The writer of the Proverbs says, “Be sure your sins will find you out.” He might have added, “be ready to reap what you sow”.

In this chapter I almost begin to feel sorry for Haman. He has hatched this elaborate plan to publically humiliate and then execute Mordecai but ends up being forced to publically honor him instead. (Spoiler alert!) In tomorrow’s chapter it comes around full circle as he receives the full treatment that he had intended for Mordecai.

As I consider why it is that poetic justice makes us feel good, I can’t help think that it has something to do with the way we are wired. Some would like to think that the nature of man is intrinsically good, and that our environment is what corrupts it. I do not believe that for a moment. The nature of man has a bent toward evil because it has been corrupted by sin, yet there is a part of us, which we call our conscience that seems to be hard-wired with a sense of morality. Most people (whose conscience has not been systematically seared and twisted) understand the basic difference between right and wrong. We may differ and argue about where we draw these lines, but most people agree that to kill a human being in cold blood for no apparent reason would be wrong.

This is also not to suggest that we don’t all live with many inconsistencies in our lives in regard to the moral choices we make.

Haman made a moral choice. Unfortunately he made the wrong choice and it came back to bite him with a vengeance. Mordecai and Esther also made moral choices that carried substantial risk, but resulted in a great evil being thwarted. Similarly we also are presented with moral choices in our culture. Most often these also are accompanied by a substantial amount of risk to our reputation perhaps even our life and safety. Unfortunately is not possible to abstain by refusing to choose. In most situations to refuse to choose is to choose not to stand up for righteousness, and to refuse to stand up for righteousness is as good as casting a vote for the advance of evil.


About Dented-Knight

Peter Enns (aka - The Dented Knight) is a native of rural southern Manitoba, Canada. He is an ordained minister, the proprietor of LNE Web Services, father of four, grandfather of two, and life long husband of one. 
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