19 January 2017

How Dare We !!?

Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
(Proverbs 24.17,18)

I'll never forget how physically sick I felt the day a dangerous individual who had harmed others and sinned greatly died, or more accurately - was killed, and my Facebook feed was littered with celebration.  Many rejoiced saying that said individual deserved even worse than the consequences already received.

True enough. I really can't argue that.

Justice HAD been served.

The celebration, however, broke my heart. To know that a soul, one most likely not prepared to stand before God, had entered eternity unprepared? No longer did any opportunity exist for a change of heart for that individual. And people who love Jesus with abandon apparently felt no sorrow that a soul was now condemned to hell.

Actions have consequences. Absolutely! 

In fact, the consequences of my actions make hell a just destination for me, but for God's mercy and grace.

Sometimes I forget that. 

When I get all caught up in the hating of an antagonistic adversary or despicable foe, I totally lose sight of the fact that the only reason I only look any different in God's eyes than does "my enemy" is that because He sees me clothed in Christ's righteousness. Somehow, I start suspecting that my own righteousness and efforts are impressing the Almighty, if only just a little bit.

When that mindset creeps in, when I realize that I'm glad - rejoicing and celebrating because of another's 
  • tottering,
  • wavering and weakening where there was once strength,
  • stumbling and falling,
  • fainting,
  • bereavement, 
  • being cast down, 
  • decaying, 
  • failing, 
  • feebleness, 
  • ruin
  • death?
I do not please God.

The only thing I can think of that begins to compare in my own life is when I see one of my children delighting and gloating in the deserved comeuppance of a sibling. Discipline is necessary and so critical as parents disciple children, but it pains to see one I love so much suffering through shame, guilt, conviction and/or consequences. 

It pains just as deeply, though, to see another one of my children enjoying their sibling's sadness, making merry as another reaps the aftermath they've brought on themselves. The more godly response would be sober sorrow.

Sober sorrow, however, must be the evidence of God's grace. This proverb warns, "Do not let...," words which remind me that rejoicing in another's just consequences or punishment is the natural and worldly-fleshly-sinful response. 

It is God's unfettered grace that enables His own to "not let" rejoicing ensue at the demise of a real or perceived enemy and to genuinely sit awhile with sober sorrow.

1st photo credit: adedip via photopin cc
2nd photo credit: Amarand Agasi via photopin cc
*originally published here, and slightly edited  and republished here.
Still convicting thoughts I regularly need to revisit, so revised and published once again..

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