We are considering Esther 7
I listened to a TEDx talk recently (www.ted.com). It was being given by a Nigerian writer named Chimamanda Adichie. She explained what she called the ‘The Danger of a Single Story’. She said people sometimes tell an actual (but incomplete) story about other people. They do this often to make those people look worse than they really are – lazy, flirty, aggressive, ignorant, criminal, dirty, etc. Some even manufacture monikers like “nigger”, “sweetie”, “ahwerewfo”, “oriabrika”, “pepenii”, etc., for people they do not understand. Do you remember how you made fun of a new classmate or neighbour? You were probably acting on a “single story”.
Queen Esther had invited the two great men, King Ahasuerus and Haman, to a second dinner in our story. The king had spent a sleepless night wondering why the queen had invited the two of them just to eat, so he was anxious to get to the bottom of the matter. Haman, on his part, was just having fun.
For the queen, tonight was the night. She, her ladies, and the whole Jewish community had fasted and prayed in anticipation of this moment (Est. 4). So, courageously and in plaintive tones, she pleaded for the king’s intervention since she and her people had been scheduled for annihilation like chickens infected with bird flu. And after a few sentences she finished and wondered what the reactions would be.
The two great men were shocked. One wondered who would dare attack his queen and her people. The other realized with dismay that the queen was a Jewess. Ahasuerus realized that he had trusted a snake in a few short exchanges. He shot up heatedly while Haman tried to hide behind his own ten fingers. He ramped into the garden just outside to try and gather his thoughts. Then a guard prompted him that Haman had advanced on the queen. So as he turned back into the room, there was Haman on his knees beside the Queen on couch, negotiating for his life.
The king thundered from the door, “Will he even molest my queen while I am still here?” You know the rest. Haman was a dead man that very night. King Ahasuerus suddenly realized that he should have asked more questions before approving Haman’s request. All the time, Haman had been feeding him single stories. Today, many respected leaders, even politicians, act on single stories to take significant decisions for their people.
You and I, we are also being fed and fooled by all sorts of single stories in our meetings, programmes, chats, online, offline. Young people start promiscuity, smoking, drinking, having sex for the first time because of “single stories”. They fling their future over their shoulders into a ditch based on single stories. What is your own single story? What really matters? Is it love or lust or wait; android, BB, phablet, phone; the beauty of skin, body, face or character; juju, witchcraft, spirits or Christ; profession, occupation or vocation? Do you know anyone who achieved life goals by acting on single stories? How much peer pressure can you withstand without being misled? What would it cost to get you back on track?
Tags: single story, Chimamanda, Tedx, Queen Esther, Ahasuerus, Haman, leaders, decision making, fasting and prayer, courage,