Do Not Rejoice When Your Enemy Falls
"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." Proverbs 24:17-18 Human nature desires justice and vengeance, but the unwise do not stop to think that they too are deserving of punishment. We are all alike, born sinners, born with a fallen human nature, born to fallen parents, born into a fallen world, hurt by various fallen people, victims of victims, suffering injustice, and all of these things fostering bitterness in us and drawing us into further sin, the sins of hatred, bitterness, and unforgiveness. The Word of God says we are all in the same boat, that there is not one of us who is righteous. "There is none righteous, no, not one;" Romans 3:19 Believers are called to a higher place, one that recognizes the pathetic path of the wicked, knowing that only by the grace of God are we not on that same path. Like them, we were born sinners, and only by the grace of God are we spared. "If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?" Psalm 130:3 Rather than nurture a desire for vengeance, consider the end of the wicked. If one truly understood their end, they would drop all desire for vengeance. The Word of God tells us about hell, that it is forever, that it is a place of great suffering, torment, and eternal regret. One who truly understands this wouldn't want it for his worst enemy. It's awful. It's terrible. It's an eternity of suffering without hope of escape. When someone hurts you, take that as a signal that God wants you to pray for that person. You might be the only one on earth praying for him/her. Your prayers could change his or her eternal destiny. The more hateful they are, the more they NEED your prayers. Indeed, that was where we were headed too, before the Lord showed us his salvation and revealed to us his Son who came to this earth to take upon himself the judgment due us because of our sins. We are no better than the wicked, except that we have a Redeemer. That's the only difference. Without the atonement Christ accomplished for us, we too would be headed for hell. Therefore, let us have sympathy for those whose hearts have not been changed, let us pray for them instead of hating them. Let us be kind to them, considering that we could easily have been in their shoes. Let us do all we can, fasting and praying that they might have their eyes opened to see their hopeless state and to turn their hearts to the Redeemer that they too might have the hope of eternal life. If they claim to be believers, intercede for them that they might be set free from whatever evil thing that dwells within them. They truly need your prayers, if only you are willing. "As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.'" Ezekiel:11 Amen! Let this be not only our attitude, but our heart too. Father God, please put your mercy into my heart, mercy for the hateful, mercy for the cruel, mercy for the hopeless. It could so easily have been me.