Do Not Rejoice When Your Enemy Falls

Reading the Word

Proverbs 24:17–18 (ESV)
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

Understanding and Applying the Word

It sure can be easy to find joy when those we do not like or who give us great difficulty are defeated or fail. However, we are told that this is not the attitude we should have towards our enemies. In fact, Jesus even tells us we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). In today’s proverb, we are told that rejoicing over the failure of another is an attitude that displeases God.

The world tells us that our enemies do not deserve our love. We should reserve our love for those who do good for us and who love us back. The Bible’s teaching on love is counter-cultural and difficult for many to accept. We are called to practice the same kind of love for others that Christ showed to us. What kind of love was that? Romans 6:8 tells us that “even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even while we were the enemies of God, Christ gave up his life for us. We are called to do the same for others as we point them to our Savior.


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