Esther 2: Is It Okay to Omit Details for a Greater Purpose?
In Esther 2, king Ahasuerus decided that he needed a new queen since the old one Vashti would not do everything that he demanded. As a result, he basically brought a bunch of women in to decide who would be his next queen, and Esther, our star lady, was one of those women.
The interesting part was that Esther was a Jew, and that surely would not have been a popular thing to say in the court. She never would have had a chance at becoming queen.
Est 2:10 Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.
As it turned out, she quickly became the favorite of the king, and it was not very long until he decided that she needed to become his queen. However, the king still had no idea that she was actually Jewish.
Est 2:17 And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
Est 2:20 Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.
This is kind of an interesting thought because it makes me wonder if there are ever circumstances where we should hide away some part of our character.
For example, would it ever be right for a Christian to hide part of his or her belief system if it did allow for the ultimate potential for gain for other Christians?
I’m thinking about China hypothetically. Obviously, the house church movement is powerful, but there is also widespread persecution. Identifying with that movement can lead to severe consequences that are potentially lethal.
In that situation, does it make sense for a Christian to not lie about their beliefs (because that is an obvious violation of the 10 Commandments) but rather not disclose them because it could damage some greater mission? Imagine if a Christian official was able to rise into a high position in China like Esther. That person would then have the influence to make life much easier on our brothers and sisters over there. That would be a great thing, but that official might not ever have the opportunity to get into that position of power if he or she had been identified with the house church movement to begin with.
If the question never comes up, is it wrong to simply not mention faith?
As an American Christian, I can say that many of the churches I have heard from are very evangelistic. It is part of our duty as a result of our faith to go out and preach to the entire world. I believe that. If you look at the early church, they were doing that all the time even though many of them did indeed die or at least spent time in prison for what they were saying. They are often times the examples we look up to and use as our justification for doing anything for God. From that perspective, it seems that we really should always be reaching out about Christianity regardless of the consequences.
On the other hand, I have to wonder about someone like Jesus. Until the age of 30, He was not actively engaged in His ministry. In a way, He wasn’t letting people know that part of His identity yet. Again, I’m sure that if somebody came up and asked Him whether or not He was the Messiah, He certainly would not have lied to them, but He simply did not mention that fact until the time was right. On that level then, if this is sort of similar to something that Jesus did Himself, I have a hard time saying that it was wrong for Esther to do.
As you can tell, I certainly have mixed feelings.
What do all of you think? Are there circumstances where omission is okay particularly if there is long-term benefit and no lying (an obvious sin) involved?
I would love to get a little discussion going about this one if people have some opinions to share.