Refusing to Pretend

Some people’s sense of happiness relies on the world being a cushy place; they are always miserable. That only works for ancient kings like King Ahasuerus (Xerxes). He exerted utter control over his kingdom. He had his men “gather all of the beautiful young virgins in his kingdom” to audition for the role of his new wife. The result was his choice, the new Queen Esther. King Xerxes was a “Don’t harsh my happy” guy. He ruled that it was illegal to enter his gates in mourning clothes. He didn’t want anyone to be unhappy around him, even though he did a lot to make people that way. When Esther’s Uncle Mordecai learned that the king was tricked into ordering the extermination of the Jews, Mordecai refused to pretend everything would be okay. The Bible says he “wailed loudly and bitterly” just outside the king’s gate. Though he was technically within the law, King Xerxes could have still had his head.

He went [only] as far as the king’s gate, because no one was to enter the king’s gate dressed in sackcloth.

Esther 4:2

Finding the High Stakes

Many people get uncomfortable, even threatened, when we refuse to pretend that everything is fine. Your real feelings can be met with aggression. Mordecai served God in a Godless pagan culture. He could have protested many things but didn’t. Not every battle is for every person. Mordecai had the ear of Queen Esther and was inundated by people wanting access to their plight. If the uncle made a scene over every cause, he’d be seen as the problem; and not the real problem. If everything is important, then nothing’s important. Mordecai knew his battle; it meant the end of his race, and he and Esther were the last hope. Esther didn’t want her Uncle Mordecai to upset the king. She was content with the status quo; she sent him new clothes to replace his sackcloth and ashes. He kindly refused to comply.

When Esther’s young women and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed. She sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth, but he would not accept them.

Esther 4:4

The Lovely and the Distracted

If Mordecai had cleaned up, put on fresh clothes, and pretended everything was okay, we would never have heard of Esther and Mordecai because he refused to pretend Esther had to ask what was wrong. Esther was a good person, and Like many of us, she was caught up in the trappings of her world. She tried throwing a quick solution to the issue, but Mordecai didn’t relent. And it got her attention, and she finally asked why. Because Uncle Mordecai continued to tell it like it was boldly, she was willing to risk her life to save her people. Esther went on to valiantly use her courage, wisdom, and beauty to save her people. Sometimes people need to be encouraged to ask the question.

Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

Esther 4:5

Confrontation & Abuse

Most of us hate confrontation; it’s much easier to comply and have peace. If something is important, we shouldn’t hide our feelings and pretend everything’s okay. That’s not love. Many times, people need to be awakened from their lives to see what’s happening, and they never will if they don’t experience some discomfort. Our job is to comfort, but not to make others comfortable by denying the reality of life-changing issues.


What I said isn’t applicable if you are in a dangerous or abusive relationship. This requires help from people who are wise in these things and have done this before. There are domestic abuse hotlines you can research. Leaving requires very shrewd planning. You can never change a person who’s violent towards you. Good times and apologies are mere only tools to keep you around.

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