Friday, March 29, 2013


Do not  when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. (Proverbs 24:17-18)
In the last lap of the NASCAR Auto Club 400, this past Sunday, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were battling for first place. The two cars were very close to each other and it seemed as though it would be a photo finish. However, they eventually made contact, which caused them both to crash and Kyle Busch blew by them to take the checkered flag.

Whether you were happy with the outcome of a race, football game or other sports event depends on what team or athlete you like. However, there is a more sinister part to events like this. There are also those teams or athletes you don't like. When you don't like them, you want to see them perform badly, lose or crash.

We are the same way in our everyday lives. We secretly like to see others fail. We inwardly shout for joy when someone we dislike, disapprove of or envy messes up. There is actually a term for this, it's called, schadenfreude.

Schadenfreude, is defined as, "Enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others." When we see others fail, we feel good about ourselves. As humans, we like to play the comparison game. We want a house or car that impresses others. We want a prestigious job or like to drop names of famous or powerful people we know. We even compare our children in their growth, schoolwork or athletic abilities.

However, when someone else seems to be doing better than us, we secretly wish failure on them or gloat when they do. This is not the way God intended us to be toward each other. Jealousy, envy, covetousness, and pride are all sins that are addressed in the scripture.

We're told in the Bible that Jesus had amassed quite a following by the time He entered Jerusalem on the Sunday before Passover. The people waved palm branches and shouted praises. This made the Jewish religious leaders nervous because they were afraid of what the Romans would do if there was a revolt. However, there was also a lot of envy. The people flocked to Jesus, but they came to the priests out of duty. They wanted to see Jesus fail.

The Jewish leadership saw Jesus as a threat to their way of life, so, in their minds, there was no way they could co-exist. Therefore, they decided to kill Him. They set the plot in motion and even convinced the Roman governor to go along with them. Then, after three years of ministry, Jesus was crucified.

However, what they didn't plan on was the greatest comeback in all of history! On the third day, Jesus emerged from the grave, alive and victorious over death and sin. Those who plotted for His demise, were now the ones to be laughed at.

We are called to love each other. We are not only to love those who love us, but to also love our enemies. Jesus said to pray for those who hate you. That also means to pray for those who you dislike. That's not easy, but it's what we are called to do. Jesus said that if we only love those who love us, how are we any different from the rest of the world?

As we celebrate this Easter, take the time to pray for those around you, even those who you dislike. Give the same mercy to them that Christ showed you. It was love that held Jesus to the cross. It was love that raised Him from the dead. Love is the mark that shows the world that we are His children. Go and love!

"If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." (1 John 4:20-21)

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