Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Or the Lord will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.
As I was reading this verse this morning, I realized that it was the first time, I had really “seen” or “read” that last half of the verse. When I was younger, I was a girl who when I got hurt, I lashed right back. I mean..if you hurt me, you deserve it back. I was one who when her enemy stumbled and fell, was laughing while they were down. In my mind, it served them right. Deep down I knew it wasn’t the right way to handle things but it seemed to supply a momentary band-aid over the hurt in my heart.
Then I had children, and as a young mom, I still continued this way of dealing with people who hurt my children, or treated them badly. Then one day began the beginning of a few years of teaching and pruning for me. My youngest son was bullied pretty badly on a daily basis, for a long period of time. I would help at the school and witness this happen myself. I saw so much of me, in the way my son handled this. The lashing back, the negative things he said about them to me, and the joy that was in his face when something went wrong for them.
So began the redeeming lesson for us both. God’s Word tells us to pray for those who persecute us. So we began to pray for those boys. It is amazing how much praying for someone can change an attitude. God’s Word tells us when our enemy is hungry, feed him; when our enemy is thirsty, give him a drink; if he needs to be clothed, to give him clothes. So we started looking for ways to bless them and be kind to them. Some days is was just a compliment or word of encouragement. God’s Word tells us to leave the “justice” part to Him, that He will deal with it. He knows them better anyway…right. So my son and I did this constantly. It took awhile but we saw the fruit of this, along with the healing touch from the Lord. One of the boys began to be nice, to respond to David’s acts of kindness, and before he left that school one of the relationships had been restored.
As I read the second part of that verse, I see that if we lash back, if we rejoice in hurting them back or when they are struggling, no matter what they are doing to us, we are taking over God’s job. Whenever we try to do God’s job for Him, we hinder Him from being able to do what He can do and what He needs to do. So I pray today for those who aren’t so nice to me, for those who mock my faith, for those who pass me on the highway and flip me off, and for whoever else comes my way today! God can deal with it all so much better than me and if I love people the way God loves me then I want even my enemies to be healthy, successful, safe, to do well in school, to have friends, and most importantly to KNOW and LOVE the God I serve.