Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
I'll never forget how physically sick I felt... the day a dangerous individual who had harmed others and sinned greatly died and my Facebook feed was littered with celebration that said individual deserved even worse than the consequences already received.
True enough. I really can't argue that.
Justice had been served.
But the celebration? It broke my heart to know that a soul, one most likely not prepared to stand before God, had entered eternity. No longer did any opportunity exist for a change of heart for that individual. And people who I believe love Jesus with abandon felt no sorrow that, as best as I know, was condemned to hell.
Actions have consequences... Absolutely!
The consequences of my actions make hell a just destination for me... but for God's mercy and grace.
Sometimes I forget that. I get all caught up in the hating of an antagonistic adversary and despicable foe; I totally lose sight of the fact that the only reason I only look any different in God's eyes is because He sees me clothed in Christ's righteousness. Somehow, I've started wondering, maybe even suspecting, that my own righteousness and efforts are impressing the Almighty... just a little bit.
When that mindset creeps in, when I'm glad, rejoicing with great celebration
- the tottering
- the wavering and weakness of what was once strong,
- the stumbling and falling,
- the fainting,
- the bereavement,
- the casting down,
- the decaying,
- the failure,
- the falling into feebleness...
- the ruin?
The only think I can think of that begins to compare in my own life is when I see one of my children delighting in the needed comeuppance of a sibling. Discipline is necessary and so critical as parents disciple children, but it pains to see one I love so much suffering through shame, guilt, conviction and/or consequences. It pains just as deeply, though, to see another one of my children enjoying their sibling's sadness by making merry as another reaps the aftermath they've brought on themselves... A more godly response would be sober sorrow.
That sober sorrow, however, must be the evidence of God's grace. This proverb warns, "Do not let..." which indicates that rejoicing is the natural, worldly, fleshly, sinful response. It is God's unfettered grace that enables His own to control, to "not let" rejoicing ensue.