Does our enemy’s fall deserve love or laughter?
Have you ever been to Wal-Mart and seen a mother swat a son as a sibling looked on with glee? Justice had been served. But when the sibling started to taunt his brother, the swatting ceased and the mother turned her attention to the one who rejoiced in the punishment of his brother.
I think we never outgrow that tendency to want to see our enemies go down. Many times I was put down for my Christian faith in the Army. There was a part of me that was ready for the fire from heaven to strike.
If you’re honest, you’re the same way. That person at work who annoys you. The neighbor who won’t shut up about their success. A political rival who might be the embodiment of evil. When we cheer their failure or demise, we may find the only wrath our enemy will see is our own scorn.
The Bible speaks to this. The Holy Spirit inspired King Solomon to teach this to his sons.
“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18)
The Lord calls us to love, not laugh at, our enemy when he falls.
What we don’t realize is that God may be trying to change our hearts to see people like He sees them. To Him, everyone is an enemy until they are reconciled to God. You were an enemy who needed love. You were an enemy that stood opposed to God. Yet, He loved you enough to save you–in spite of you.
When we start to see our enemies as those in need of God’s love, our hearts change. God no longer needs to use our enemies to teach us to depend on Him. Instead of needing to discipline us for our failure to view the world with the spiritual eyes he gave us, he will allow us to watch as He glorifies Himself by punishing evil.
We need to remember the enemy could become an ally. The last thing we need to do is inflame the situation by rejoicing at the failure of an adversary. Trust me, the Lord is world class at serving justice and exacting punishment. He doesn’t need our help. He needs us to love people in spite of themselves, as He loved us.
Live For More!