Summary: Love and hate run deeply in our hearts, even co-existing. But unrestrained hatred can bring suffering to both those hated and the one hating.
The Power of Hatred
1. I love preaching and teaching through the Book of Esther.
2. If you were not here last week, you missed a lot.
3. Let me review: Esther takes place between Ezra 6 (quickview)  and 7; during the era of the Medo-Persian Empire; nowadays, we would call it the Iranian Empire; the Persian Empire had conquered the Babylonian or Iraqi Empire, which included the nation of Israel.
4. A small number of Jews were allowed to return to Israel, but most had to or chose to stay put, scattered throughout the empire.
5. CAST OF CHARACTERS:
Vashti – the deposed queen, never heard from again after chapter one.
King Xerxes – (Ahasuerus) of the Iranian (Persian) Empire, ruling over Iraq (Babylon), Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel, yet blindly following the advice of wicked Haman.
Mordecai – the faithful Jew whose obedience to God’s Law could doom the entire Jewish race.
Esther – Mordecai’s cousin/niece, the new queen who keeps her Jewish heritage a secret (the heroine).
Haman – the ambitious new Grand Vizier who cooks up a plot to annihilate all Jews (the villain).
6. Politically Correct Story of Esther to catch you up…
And it came to pass in the third year of the reign of Xerxes, King of Persia, that the King threw a great party. And it was during that party, that the King became intoxicated and called for his wife Vashti to come dance exotically in front of the guests. Now, Vashti was a liberated woman, and was not at all ashamed to display her body in public ("my body, my choice," she used to say). But she was certainly not going to do so at the behest of a male chauvinist like her husband. So she refused to appear, and the following morning, in addition to a major hangover, Xerxes had one royal-size sexual harassment suit waiting for him. Public opinion quickly turned against the King, and he was forced to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.
It was after those events that the King missed Vashti, and wanted to find a new wife. He consulted his inner circle of advisors, which, in accordance with multi-cultural practices, consisted of, among others, one woman, one Indian, one Ethiopian, and one handicapped person, who was also rumored to be gay. One of his advisors, Memoochan, suggested holding a beauty contest, attended by all the fairest maidens in the land. But his female advisor informed him that Memoochan was a Neanderthal living in the dark ages, and that beauty contests where men gawk at women walking around in swimsuits had long ago gone out of fashion. Instead, she suggested giving a test in such subjects as physics, literature and music, and the most intelligent woman would be made queen. And the King, already lagging in the public opinion polls, had no choice, and he said to make it so.
Now is just so happened that in the Kingdom of Persia there lived a young Jewish girl named Esther who was very beautiful, but much more importantly, had a 195 IQ. Having successfully sued her parents for termination of custody, she had been living with her uncle Mordecai. Esther aced the test and was chosen to be the new queen. Only, the homosexual community objected the word "queen", and the feminists didn’t like the whole gender-based title thing, so it was decided that she would just be called "Royal Person." So Esther was crowned Royal Person of Persia and was married to King Xerxes, though she kept her own last name. And being that Esther was an intelligent woman in her own right, and had no intention whatsoever of sitting quietly next to the King looking pretty, she was given her own staff of 15 and an office in the west wing of the palace.