When Your Enemy Falls
by Curt Klingeman
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Proverbs 24:17-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him (KJV).
Though a disciple of Jesus Christ may have many enemies, he or she should not be an enemy to any human being, no matter whom they are. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father Which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45 (KJV). Does loving, blessing, doing good and praying for those who despise us sound like the attributes of an enemy? Why would the Father treat everyone well, even those who are evil? One reason is that the goodness of God leads people to repentance (see Romans 2:4). The Father desires repentance rather than condemnation (see 2Peter 3:9). Likewise, we should desire repentance and salvation for those who might be considered our enemies. Remember at one time, we were all enemies of God, but He had mercy on us.
Is it possible for believers to align themselves with the devil and be completely oblivious to it? When a person takes a stance that condemns another for his actions, he becomes his accuser. When he rails against him, his works are that of darkness. The moment someone rejoices over the fall or demise of an individual, he just became his enemy. One of the things Satan does is accuse with the intent to destroy and kill. One of his ploys is to get us to do the same. He attempts to get us to agree with him, so that not only is another destroyed, we are as well -two for the price of one. The devil knows that if he can get us into the place of judgment, he can move us out of mercy. Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2, KJV). When individuals begin to hold others’ sins against them, they have entered into unforgiveness. Being judgmental of others does not lead them to repentance; it pushes them farther away from it. How can we reach out to people if we shun them for their failures? When people choose judgment over mercy, they align themselves with the devil.
Only God knows everyone’s heart; in fact, we do not truly know our own. Therefore, how does anyone dare pretend to know what is in the heart of another? The Lord does give us discernment through the Holy Spirit. It serves a purpose, but that purpose can be twisted to serve darkness instead of Light. For example, the Holy Spirit might reveal that someone is in bondage to a particular sin. Initially, it might even be shocking, but the intent is restoration. Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ (KJV). How many of us have found themselves in bondage and needed help? When you cried for mercy, did you receive mercy? If someone else is in bondage, should you not also be merciful to him or her? Discernment can be turned into a weapon against another by virtue of negative filtration. There is a tendency for some to filter what they discern through past hurts and injustices they experienced, especially if they have not been properly dealt with. Because the negative emotions attached to those experiences are stirred up, they find it difficult to be compassionate. Instead, they become judgmental which in turn leads them to desire another to be condemned. They grow to be self-righteous and indignant. What God meant for good, was turned into something evil.
It is easy to praise the Lord for those with testimonies of being saved and delivered from a life of degradation. We even cheer for those who lived most despicable lifestyles. After all, they are just like us now. How do we view those who do not have such a testimony and are still living those lifestyles? Do we despise them or have compassion? When a criminal is put on death row or placed in prison, should we really say, “They get what they deserve?” There is a judgment coming for the wicked that reject God’s grace, and it is most horrific. It is beyond what we can imagine. We were criminals in the sight of God, but He had mercy on us when we asked for His forgiveness. We deserved that same judgment, but the Father was compassionate. It is funny how some people want to be understood and forgiven, but fail to understand and forgive others when “the shoe is on the other foot.” Sinners do sin; however, we should have an understanding that people do things for as reason. For example, some who abuse others have been abused themselves. One of the ways the devil seeks to destroy people is to attack them at a young age. If he can ensnare someone while he or she is at very young age, it will be easy to keep that one in bondage all his or her life. The actions of that person’s life reflect the damage that was done to him. Those reflections may be many, and of that number, several can be very ugly. If you meet a person who is always angry, be compassionate. They are angry for a reason. Please understand that we cannot endorse a victim mentality; in fact, compassion can help move a person out of that mindset. Simply put, we need to love the unlovable in order to set them free. Understanding their plight helps us to minister in proper fashion. Yes, it is necessary to have laws in place to protect society, no question. However, if we were truly merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful, would we not reach out to those ensnared by the devil in order to see them saved and delivered before they wound up in a lifestyle that leads to facing those laws? If we are merciful, would we not also reach out to those who are already there, or would we prefer to leave them as they are? For whom did Jesus go to the Cross?
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