In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Friday, May 7, 2010

What's the balance between pardon and prudence?


This question has been mulling around in the back of my mind since I read it a few days ago in It's Tough being a Woman by Beth Moore. This book is a Bible Study in Esther and the question came about in reference to the 7th chapter of Esther, specifically the 7th verse where Haman is pleading with Esther for his life.

In case you're unfamiliar with the story, in a brief nutshell, there was a king named Xerxes who was the king of what was then Persia. He got rid of his first wife and his advisors saw that he was lonely so they advised him to let them organize a search of his kingdom for the most beautiful young women and then each young woman, after a year's worth of beauty treatments, would be brought to him to sort of audition to be his wife. He chose a woman named Esther. The king did not realize that Esther was a Jew. A man named Haman who worked for the king hated Jews, he especially hated Mordecai, Esther's uncle and gaurdian. Haman got the king to issue and edict that all the Jews were to be destroyed, killed and their properties given to others. Haman even had a very tall gallows errected for Mordecai to be hung on. Esther gained favor with her husband, king Xerxes, and has just exposed Haman for the evil man that he was in this 7th chapter of Esther. In the 7th verse we see Haman pleading with Esther to spare his life.

So it's a great question in the context of that event. Should Esther have shown mercy and pardoned Haman, or was she more prudent to let him die because he was such a threat to the Jews that, if he escaped his actions this time, he would just be looking for another way to destroy her and her people.

The question really hit me because I've had lots of people throughout my life who either purposefully, or because of their own problems, have done me wrong.

As a very grateful Al-Anon member, I've struggled with this concept many times with the situations involving the alcoholic in my life. As a person who belongs to a family of origin that has poor to no boundaries, when they do something that makes my life unpleasant, I have repeatedly asked myself how I can live toward the person in forgiveness and love, yet set up boundaries to keep myself and my children protected. As a mom of teens, I frequently struggle with the balance between mercy and consequences. As a supervisor, times come up when I must evaluate if an employee misconduct simply warrents counseling or, if that employee has crossed the line and can not be trusted, so prudence would be to sever the relationship.

I find the balance between pardon and prudence a very difficult one indeed.

In fact, I do not know how I'd ever achieve it if it weren't for God's wisdom. James 1:5 tells me that if I lack wisdom I can call on God and He'll give it to me. I'm so grateful to have a God who I can go to with life's questions. Grateful that even if I miss it and make a wrong decision, all is still not lost, because His mercies are new each morning and I can always count on His forgiveness
and start anew.

What about you, do you ever struggle with the balance between pardon and prudence? What helps you?

7 comments:

photogr said...

All the time Tracy. Only by holding off on a decision till I have had time to reason and consider what Jesus would do. Then the message usually comes to mind.

Andrea said...

I inch toward the mark...each day. I am still a work in progress...thankfully GOD hasn't and will not give up on me.
Hugs,
andrea

teddytrump said...

Yes, I'm too have the experience in this area, I think in my mind what would I choose? forgive or not ?

but the answer comes to my heart, in the work field "Professional" comes first, if another people has a mistake, I forgive him, but I advice him too..so in the next time, he will not do it again..

SO the point is we forgive the people but we must advice him to make his way right on the path so he will not fall into the same hole again...

GOD gives us knowledge, so we must use it, like a verse Matthew 10:16

Tracy said...

God has forgiven me so much that I want to always choose forgiveness.

But I have learned that forgiveness does not mean putting myself, or those for whom I have responsibility, in an "unsafe" situation. That's why I really zeroed in on this concept of prudence.

It's like that old saying about how you may very well forgive the dog that bit you, but you're not going back in his yard again.

Gem said...

I am a big fan of Beth Moore and that is a very insightful observation!

I'm pretty sure of Esther's decision too since I recall Haman hanging from the gallows he had built for the execution of Esther's Uncle.

But I missed that Esther had a role in that decision. Is this Biblical evidence that its OK with God if we need to "cut off" those who are toxic to us?

David-FireAndGrace said...

Great thoughts -

I am pretty plain guy and not all that smart. That is why I need God. Simple concept... God only has one opinion and although He loves me, He isn't all that interested in what I would do.

I ask for wisdom and then wrestle with my own thoughts. In the end, I only need to hear God - simple concept...

The art of hearing God is what is not so simple for me.

Everyone has toxic folks, mine happen to be addicts and alcoholics. (I would like to say that having these family curses broken is one way for this stuff to end.) Otherwise it is the hard work of character.

I guess my point is this - if God knows people's hearts, and then I need to know which He is offering, and get on the band wagon with Him.

If I am in God's will, my life is really none of my business.

John Cowart said...

I couldn't find your site for a couple of days. Glad to see you back on line.

John

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