Sometimes when we have to make a really difficult choice, we spend a lot of time going back and forth about the right thing to do.
Most of us naturally procrastinate making the decision until the last possible second, or even until it’s too late.
Putting off a difficult choice is completely understandable, but it takes faith to finally dive in and commit to a course of action. That moment of decision, however, can be really stressful.
In Esther 5, the heroine of our story, Queen Esther is finally forced to make a choice.
She has found a comfortable and welcoming home in the house of the king. Unlike most of her people, her life isn’t in immediate danger. So she could live a long, lavish life if she just stayed in the king’s house, kept her mouth shut, and didn’t make too much noise. While most of the Jewish nation is being threatened with death, esther has a way out. And she could have just stayed on the sidelines, looked out for herself, and not gotten involved.
Having arrived at a safe place, esther could have attributed her comfortable position to her beauty, her charm, or just pure good luck. But her Uncle Mordecai had a different explanation for why this young Jewish girl found herself in the house of the king. He approached her and told her, who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Mordecai told Esther correctly that her place in the king’s court wasn’t because of her looks or her luck. The Lord needed her there.
Esther had been carefully placed in the court of the king by God to save her people. But to do this, she would have to risk her own life. So the choice for Esther was stay silent and safe and watch her people be destroyed, or possibly lose her life and status in an attempt to save them. Even choosing to have an audience with the king without being invited might mean possible death. But Esther knew the right thing to do, so she pressed ahead.
She put on her royal apparel and walked into the king’s presence. She was too good a person to watch her people be destroyed without doing something to stop it. Fortunately, when Esther entered into his presence, the king was pleased to see her, so pleased that he lowered his golden sceptre, showing his favor, and even told Esther that he would grant her request, telling her, It shall be given to thee to half of the kingdom. Esther was able to set up a banquet with the king, where she could expose the evil designs of Hamen and save her people. It took genuine courage for Esther to go into the king.
It took even more courage when she revealed to the king that she was Jewish and that Heyman was planning on murdering her people. But Esther’s actions saved thousands of lives and changed the course of history. We might not find ourselves in a position where we have to risk as much as Esther did. But being a disciple of Christ has always been a bit of a risky proposition. We may risk friendships, professional opportunities, and who knows what else.
If we stand up for what we know is right. It can be challenging to be a disciple in a world that doesn’t always reward discipleship. We might want to stay neutral in the conflicts that surround us. But being a member of the House of Israel means you have already chosen aside once when speaking to a wavering church member. The prophet Joseph Smith taught before you joined this church, you stood on neutral ground.
When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this church, you enlisted to serve God. When you did that, you left neutral ground, and you can never get back onto it.
Should you forsake the master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant. Esther knew she could never live with herself if she stood by and watched her people be slaughtered by Hamen. She knew she could never be neutral in the conflict between right and wrong. So she took action, and her actions saved her people. When a difficult choice has to be made, we can follow Esther’s example and be courageous.
We can choose to risk ourselves to do what is right.