August 2020: Try Not to Gloat - Prov 17.17-18
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
'Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and do not be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.'
Growing up as a football fan I obviously loved watching the teams I supported win. Nothing felt better than seeing your team win a match or even a trophy (depending on how good your team are!) What also brings great pleasure is seeing your fiercest rivals lose, even if it was a different team that beat them! No true fan could ever resist the temptation to delight in their rivals downfall and enjoy giving your friend a hard time for their team's loss or demise.
Obviously in the football world, this is just a bit of fun. However, this proverb warns against something much more serious. The reader is warned against rejoicing in the serious downfall of an enemy. Now remember that God's people at this time had some serious military enemies. They had enemies who wanted to wipe them off the face of the Earth, yet, God says don't rejoice in their downfall. God's people are to act differently.
In our day we live in a world where it is all too easy to hear about and rejoice in the misfortune or pain of others. In the age of social media it is all too easy to hear about other people's lives (especially famous people). Without a thought, people pick up their phones and express their opinions about the lives of people they have never met.
We so often hear about how 'polarised' we are as a nation and have become accustomed to phrases like 'culture wars.' People are demonised by those who hold a different point of view or perspective. Individuals are labelled and put into categories like 'right' and 'left'. Public figures are 'cancelled' for simply expressing an honest opinion and called hateful. Even as Christians we can demonise other Christians just because they are from a different denomination or have a different theological perspective.