“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.” (Proverbs 24:17/KJV).
These words are pretty plain. But why accept them as sound advice?
- First of all: You do not know the outcome of this situation. There is no guarantee that the present problems of your enemy will turn out to be of any real advantage for you.
- You better take care not to b e carried away by your emotions. Anybody who manages to soundly observe and analyse his circumstances is better off. As you are facing a conflict any little foolishness might aggravate your problems.
- Do not hastily take advantage of your enemy’s apparent weaknesses. Any wrong you do to your enemy will be considered by a judge also and of course by the heavenly judge. How can you maintain you are right, when, given the chance, you hasten to doing evil?
Why I chose to write about this verse:
As you can easily imagine, I am still seeking to explain and illustrate 1 Corinthians 13:6: Love “rejoiceth not with iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth.”
Rejoicing while an enemy is in trouble could easily be a way of rejoicing with iniquity. Christian love as described in 1 Corinthian 13 does not yield to such emotions.
Have faith in God’s power to change lives!
I feel Christian love would hope for an “enemy” to meet Jesus. People who come to believe in Jesus will change in many ways.
Just think of Zachaeus in the New Testament. He was a tax collector. He had taken more than was right from many of his contemporaries. He was working on behalf of the Romans and he would pass on some amount to the Romans. The rest he could keep for himself. The Romans did not really limit him as to what to charge.
Needless to say this was not a way for him to gain good Friends among his fellow Jews. many would have hated him for what he demanded from them. Yet any agitation against a tax-collector’s authority could be seen as rebellion against the Romans. The Romans were ruling their country and many others surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
When Jesus came to Zachaeus’s home things began to change. Zachaeus on his own accord decided to return money that he had taken by usury. He also determined to give alms the poor.
An attempt to eliminate Zachaeus could never have rendered such results. Zachaeus would have been replaced by another tax-collector. Those who had acted out against Zachaeus would have been punished. (Read this story in Luke 19:1-10!)
You don’t feel you have enemies?
I am glad to hear that. Perhaps you are already applying some Christian principles.
Still this post might help you in dealing with some people you find difficult. And of course this post is designed to help you attach meaning to 1 Corinthians 13:6.