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By Jerroll Martens, Chaplain

“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.” Proverbs 24:17

We have heard, or perhaps said, “It serves him right.” It is usually in the context of someone who is evil, someone who has wronged us, or simply someone we do not like. What is the Christian to do?

It is not wrong to rejoice when evil is defeated and the right prevails. The Pharaoh of Exodus was an evil king. When he and his army tried to destroy the Israelites, God destroyed him. Moses rejoiced as God had prevailed in protecting His people. It was joy over God’s deliverance and not so much over Pharaoh’s destruction.

On a more individual basis, the Bible has several references to this. Job searched his heart to see if he had rejoiced when something bad happened to his enemy. Job knew that to be wrong. King David had opportunities to “get even” with his enemies but he refrained. It is so easy for us to rejoice in our heart when something bad happens to someone we do not like. We must guard against that.

In the final sense, let’s remember that we are all sinners and if God gave us what we deserve our case would be hopeless. His grace has extended to us love and mercy we do not deserve. May we find joy in His grace to us and to others—even those we may not like.

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