Do Not Rejoice in the Sufferings of Others
by David Brenneman
Proverbs 24:17-28 NASB "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the Lord will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him."
We often actually do the opposite of this. We take the thought and idea of justice too far. Indeed justice will occur in God's timing concerning those who afflict His people and His Church. Separated though they be in this moment, after both the Rapture of the Church, and after the combined 1007 years of the Great Tribulation and the Thousand Year reign of Christ both groups will be one before God.
Social Justice is becoming the big thing in the Social Media and the News. People demanding this or that to be done, this or that to be recognized or else.
God teaches quite the opposite. Though we have and will have many people speak out against Believers, our response isn't to be the same. We have an obligation to react as Christ did.
In my life I can tell you all sorts of real stories of what has happened to people whom had it in their minds to do me harm and how God intervened. We have honestly a one-track mind when it comes to revenge.
We see A path to it that literally plows through those who would oppose us so, bringing what we would think would be satisfaction in our lives for the wrongs done to us. As written in Ecclesiastes this too is striving after the wind. It's futile. It's but for a moment and yet also when we admit it is a hollow 'victory'.
Regardless of what we think of any individual, consider it well that Jesus Christ came to save them as well as you. Every human being ever Jesus Christ came to save. From the most evil we can think of to the one we think did the most 'good' in this world. Jesus Christ came to save. Including that person who did you wrong. Who cut you off on the highway. Who was possibly responsible for this or that in your life or the lives of those you know. Grace and Mercy that came from the cross of Christ came for all. Even those we think we despise the most.
Even when we do right, we will find people opposing us. I'm in the midst of a situation right now where this is true. I've treated someone with respect and been very courteous and yet it's been taken entirely wrong. So this will be talked about today with a third party.
I was looking up the name of one of my first employers. A year or so after I'd left his company, after his total disrespect for me, his extreme critical comments to me on my departure, he was indicted on Federal and local charges. I refused to rejoice in what he was going through. My honest hope is that he might come to Christ for salvation. I've other true stories that are similar in nature. The only one who can cure the evil that men do is our God who is all, over all and in all in sovereignty, rule and authority.
We read "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." James 1:19-20 NASB
"For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in abundance of counselors there is victory." Proverbs 24:6 NASB.
Focus instead on things like "Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways." Proverbs 23:26 NASB.
"Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always." Proverbs 23:17 NASB.
"Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself." Proverbs 22:24-25 NASB.
We can easily give in to our anger...we can easily consider a thousand ways someone else ought to 'suffer' for what they did...yet our Savior says not to give into those things. Lay those things at His feet, let He who sits on His Throne deal out what He things ought to be done.
It was a very hard afternoon yesterday after learning of that situation with this person with whom this situation exists. Was hard to focus, hard to get on through the rest of the day. I hadn't had such a difficult time since leaving my last employer last year with some people there.
"We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now. I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me" 1 Corinthians 4:10-16 NASB
We read here of how Disciples are to react to things the world throws at us. All whom the Apostles wrote to were becoming Disciples who were to teach others what it means to be a Disciple.
We see in the Gospels of how Jesus taught the 12 how to react to even the Pharisee's and Sadducee's, even the rulers from Rome, all of them and even those possessed by demons. Basically enemies of every kind and type against the life in Christ they would face on their own.
How do you look at those around you? Do you see those who are around you as someone in need of a Savior? Do you see them as Believers walking in the faith or as those who need redirection back to walking with God as they ought to? Jesus didn't care about a person's occupation, or their employer. He cared about people from the greatest to the least His concern was about people. He didn't come to die for a corporation or a product or an ideal. He came to save people. The dead have made their choice, it's those that are alive today who must make their choice. Praying for those who persecute you is what we're called to do. To bless and do not curse. To not sit ourselves on the Throne to dole out our ideas of justice. Raging against people begets you nothing. Stepping aside through prayer will let you find peace and allow God to do what only God can do in a person's life...giving them a chance, perhaps an opportunity, to come to Him for salvation.