17 ¶ Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
Jesus Himself goes even further to say this to us,
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
One of the character traits of a true Christian, which I have talked about previously in Proverbs, is the willingness not to seek revenge for wrongs done to you. Jesus goes further to say that you should pray for your enemies and even those who “despitefully use you”. How fortunate we are, how blessed, to have a Saviour, a God, who does not seek to avenge Himself on us for what we have done to Him but…
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We are not to be glad when our enemy falls. We are to have pity on the unsaved and the carnal Chrsitian lest we prove that we are them. Using the famous line from the old Pogo cartoon which was misquoting a famous line from our history, “we have met the enemy and he is us.”
How many of you have not only not sought revenge but praised your opponent or rival when he or she defeated you in sports, or received an award or a promotion you thought you should get?
It’s very easy to watch the news and think how glad you are that “those people” whoever they are, received their comeuppance, their just desserts. What a pathetic example of a follower of Christ we are when we laugh and mock at our enemies’ distress. Shall we put God in a position of defending the person we hate or that holds us in low regard?
No one has nailed you to a cross for their sins. No one to whom you have given all things in eternity has treated you with contempt and disregard. Who can have done more to you than you have done to Christ? And yet, God Himself LOVED the whole world saved and unsaved.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
A Christian will be gracious in defeat and magnanimous in victory. Are you? Or do you cheer when your enemy stumbles?