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.
Okay, not really. I am not a Dallas Cowboys fan. Truth be told, I have not followed professional football since Franco Harris caught the Immaculate Reception in 1972. (Google it if you have no idea what I am talking about.) Anyway, the point is that we live in a culture that can’t seem to help but lionize and demonize. We live in a culture that seems to require that in order to support our favorite team, we need to trash our least favorite team, or at least pummel them with snowballs.
The word of God warns against such animosity. In fact, here in Proverbs we are warned against being glad at the downfall of one who might even be our spiritual enemy. Why? Because vengeance is mine, says the LORD. He will repay. He will call all human beings to account. His judgment will be righteous. He will condemn the guilty and vindicate the righteous. God is so serious about the matter of our not taking pleasure in the downfall of our enemies that this Proverb actually includes something of a threat: lest the LORD see it and be displeased with you and perhaps even turn his anger away from your enemy, …and presumably toward you. There is no place for vengeance among the people of God.
If this were true during Old Covenant times; how much more now in the Gospel Age? Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. What is the mystery of the gospel as Paul reveals it in the book of Ephesians? That God has brought near into the family of God Gentiles who had been his enemies.
Give this some serious thought. Who do you identify as being an enemy of the faith today? Who do you mark as one who stands opposed to the cause of Christ? Is it a political leader, an entertainer, a wealthy business owner, a neighbor? Guard your heart. Do not wish for that person’s demise; rather pray for that person’s redemption. God is in the business of turning enemies into friends. Case in point: when we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dan Kunkle. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org