Sin Uses Others

The Persian king Ahasuerus once held a great banquet that lasted for seven days. The palace garden was adorned with the fin­est decorations, the best golden vessels were brought out, and the drink flowed freely. On the final day, after a week of partying, Ahasuerus sent attendants “to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful” (Esther 1:11).

But Vashti refused to appear. As a result, the king deposed her and banished her from his presence.

What was it about the king’s summons that offended Vashti? The Bible doesn’t say. The opinion of some ancient Jewish scribes was that she was expected to appear wearing only her crown. Other scholars have suggested that she was several months pregnant with Ahasu­erus’ son at the time. Or maybe she simply had no wish to be ogled by her husband’s drinking buddies.

Whatever Vashti’s reasons were for objecting, the king’s main intent is clear: he wanted “to display her beauty.” For six months Ahasu­erus had put his wealth on exhibit (verse 4); now he was treating Vashti as just one more lovely acquisition to show off. (The mod­ern phrase “trophy wife” comes to mind.) For the sake of enter­tainment and personal fame, the Persian king was ready to exploit his own spouse.

This story demonstrates how sin can take us to the point of us­ing other people as objects to promote our own plea­sure or pride. Consider:

  • Sexual immorality involves one person using the other to ful­fill desires in an ungodly way. Mutual consent and af­fection changes nothing; it only means that two people are exploiting each other.
  • Deceit takes advantage of another’s trust in order to gain some personal advantage.
  • Gossip and slander consist of ruining the reputation, influ­ence, and friendships of another in order to make oneself look and feel important. One person tries to build himself up by tearing another down.
  • Outbursts of wrath involve unloading one’s anger and venom on someone else. One person seeks to make him­self feel better by victimizing another.

These are just a few examples of how sin shamefully uses oth­ers for one’s own selfish desires. We need to stop it. Instead, “…do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).