Have you ever made a decision and immediately regretted it, or at least soon after regretted it? We are emotional creatures. Emotions are not the enemy however. We have to understand that God is the One who created and gave us our emotions. The problem comes in when we allow our emotions to rule us, instead of us ruling over our emotions. This is what we see in the opening chapters of the book of Esther. The king has decided to throw a party. At the end of this big, long party, the king basically invites everyone around the palace to join in on the party. After the king has had more than enough wine, he decides he wants to show off his beautiful wife to everyone. However, Queen Vashti refuses to come. This infuriates the king, though truth be told, it probably embarrassed him more than anything. This is a good place to say that intoxication and embarrassment in a public setting never end well. The king huddles with his advisors about what he should do in light of the queen’s insubordination. One of his advisors, most likely trying to keep order in his own house more than anything, tells the king to banish the queen. Have I mentioned that being intoxicated and making decisions never goes well? Well, it doesn’t, and the king listening to this advisor proves it. The king makes the decree and it is done. However, like so often happens, when the king calms down he has an “uh oh” moment. It is recorded in Esther 2:1, “After these things, when the wrath of King Ahasuerus subsided, he remembered Vashti, what she had done, and what had been decreed against her.” Not only has he removed his wife from being queen, but he has kicked her out of his sight forever. Normally, we would try to undo what we had done. However, the law of the Medes and Persians couldn’t be altered. There are some really important lessons in this story that I think we should learn, especially in light of the events in our nation
First, don’t make decisions when you are emotional. One of the worst things you can do is make a decision when you are either on an emotional high or an emotional low. Decisions made in the heat of the moment are seldom good decisions for the long term. This is especially true when you are angry. James 1:19-20 says, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Second, make sure that the people you are listening to have your best interest at heart. If you were to go read in Esther 1, the decision is recommended to remove Vashti because other women would hear how she refused the king, and the thought was that other women would do the same. Therefore, I argue that this decision was made by the king’s advisor more out of fear than sound logic. Not everyone who wants to give you wisdom is wise. Not everyone who wants to give you wisdom has your best interest at heart. Therefore, be careful who you listen to. Finally, we don’t want to miss the big theme not only of this story, but of the entire book of Esther. The main point is the sovereignty of God. We can see God’s hand moving pieces into place for events that are going to happen years down the road. Although God’s name is never mentioned in the book of Esther, you can absolutely see His hand moving throughout the entire book. So, what are some practical steps we can take to help us not make emotional decisions?
- Take a step back and breathe. Emotional decisions are generally the worst decisions made. When you find yourself upset, and wanting to make a rash decision, take a step back and ask yourself a question, am I going to be this mad or upset about this tomorrow as I am right now? Most of the time, we are mad in that moment, but like the king here, given some time our anger subsides. The problem with emotional decisions is the devastation they cause that can’t be undone. You may be mad right now, and then you make a rash decision, but later you calm down, but the damage is done. Now, there are times in which you would be just as upset tomorrow as you are right now. If that is the case, deal with it tomorrow. Time is your friend here as it can keep you from doing something you will regret.
- Pray and read the Bible. One thing that I have noticed, at least in my life, is that the things that often make me the most upset are not sinful things, rather they are personal preferences. Just because someone does something different from the way I do it, doesn’t mean that they are wrong. Take time to pray and read the Bible to see if this is something that we should truly be upset over. Is it a hill worth dying on?
- Seek wise counsel. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that there is “safety in a multitude of counselors.” Again, be careful who is advising you. But it is good to go to men and women that you trust, men and women you know that pray, and that want what is best for you. Tell them what has happened, and what you are thinking about doing. Ask them to pray about it, and set a time to talk with them. Be specific in your conversation. Nothing is worse than someone asking for wisdom when they only give you partial information.
- Test their counsel against what the Bible says. As great as it is to have counselors, they are fallen, sinners just like you and I. They may not mean to intentionally mislead you, but it is always possible. Therefore, when they share their wisdom, listen to it, but test it against what the Bible says. The ultimate source of wisdom is God, therefore He must be the One that guides us in our decision making.
I sincerely hope this will help all of us avoid making decisions today than we will regret tomorrow. It doesn’t mean that we won’t mess up. When we do, we go to God confessing our sin, and we go to the person we hurt and ask for their forgiveness. Don’t let one moment define your future.
By His grace and for His glory,