17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
No one likes to be beat up, attacked, or hated. When we find we have an enemy, we want more than anything for that enemy to go away!
When we are attacked, our first reaction is usually to fight back. We want our enemy to feel what we feel. We want our enemy to get their just desserts!
The Lord’s Vengeance
However, this passage shows how little God changes (not at all – Malachi 3:6), because here are Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (NIV)
It is hard letting your enemy beat you up and take what is yours. Yet He continues, taking it one step further:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
God could see you rejoicing in your enemy’s pain, and He will relent. He might even turn His punishment on you.
The point is that God expects the followers of His Son to become like Him. Christians are to demonstrate the perfect love of God to others, ultimately with the goal of winning others to Christ … perhaps even our enemies.
Loving God, do not let our enemies win over us. More importantly, help us love them as You love, that we may see Your Kingdom grow in our world until Christ returns to redeem our world!