When Not to Rejoice

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice. —PROVERBS 24:17

The Akan people of Ghana have a proverb: “The lizard is not as mad with the boys who threw stones at it as with the boys who stood by and rejoiced over its fate!” Rejoicing at someone’s downfall is like participating in the cause of that downfall.

That was the attitude of the Ammonites, who maliciously rejoiced when the temple in Jerusalem “was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile” (Ezekiel 25:3). For spitefully celebrating Israel’s misfortunes, the Ammonites experienced God’s displeasure, which resulted in grim consequences (vv. 4–7).
Proverbs warns us: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice” (24:17). Instead, Jesus tells us that we show His love in action when we “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us]” (Matthew 5:44). By so doing, we imitate the perfect love of our Lord (5:48).

L. Darmani

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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