With this seeming paradox, Jesus gives one of the most important nuggets of wisdom for dealing with the powers of this world. As Christians we find ourselves in a unique place on the political chessboard. We will most certainly be hated more than anyone else by the Haman figure in the organization. If this person gains power, not only will we be in jeopardy, or near slavery, our bosses are in trouble from the ambition of the Haman figure, and so is the entire organization. Yet, we are likely the only ones with the spiritual discernment to know what is really going on.
The Haman figure will act “innocent” when dealing with authority and ruthless when dealing with all others. We on the other hand, will be actually innocent with authority and kind to all others. The authority is likely unable to tell the difference because of Haman’s ability to manipulate. It is important to know this general principle: anywhere that Haman is found the authority, no matter how much seemingly greater he is, is in grave danger as soon as Haman can gather enough power. Hitler removed Hindenberg, Stalin may have murdered Lenin, Gotti murdered Castellano, Haman himself clearly would have killed Xerces. You may be the only thing that can stop him.
Most Christians are innocent, but they are not shrewd. They are not shrewd because they assume that other people think and act and are motivated like they are. Nothing could be more wrong. People in the world are motivated by selfish ends, not altrustic ones. Even for “good” people, being nice and good will always take a back seat to self-preservation. True Christians have a capacity for and orientation toward Christ-like self-sacrificing love. “Good” people will submit to Haman or avoid him, but they won’t see his evil for what it is, because they are still slaves of the devil’s kingdom. Being shrewd therefore means recognizing Haman for what he is — a power hungry and self-serving person who will do anything to get what he wants. He is not acting in good faith. Once you recognize that he is not acting in good faith and that the only language he understands is force, you understand the first rule of confronting him.
Ronald Reagan understood this principle in history with regard to the communists. They were lying to us, because the “nice guys” who ran our government like Carter and Ford were easy dupes. They assumed that Haman meant what he said. Wrong. Haman used the fact that they were nice to gain more power for himself. Reagan came along and said “trust but verify” and he also said we’d build “Star Wars” which made them sweat, because it meant we’d have power they could never match. Terrorists are the same way. Isreal only exists because the Arabs fear it. As soon as they stop fearing it, there will be another war.
The second principle for dealing with Haman is that his arrogance is his undoing. The legitimate authority can remove him if Haman is exposed in time, but your discernment of his identity or even evidence you present against him will not be very effective, and may cost you your authority. When the authority recognizes Haman is a threat to his own position, the authority will act, but unless you help set a trap for Haman, this will always be to late. If the authority sees Haman as a direct threat from a long way off, he’ll win. Paul Castellano would not have blinked twice in executing Gotti if he had realized Gotti was a threat in time.