“Don’t laugh when your enemy falls; don’t crow over his collapse. God might see, and become very provoked, and then take pity on his plight.” Proverbs 24:17-18
Generally my boys are little buddies. They play, they laugh, they wrestle. But every so often it goes too far.
There are tears.
There is blame.
There’s a little blood.
We listen to each other.
We hug it out.
We have a dance party.
We go on our merry ways.
But one time a particular incident had me reeling for days.
The younger did something to the older.
Older did not like it.
Older took disciplinary liberty.
Younger ended up with a fist to the face.
Older ended up with a retaliated nose leak.
A bloody mess!
As I attempted my go-to approach, something about the look on older’s face caught me off guard. It was as if nothing was getting through. He couldn’t be bothered… the discussion was a snore fest… valuable time was being wasted on something he obviously didn’t think was his fault.
This is what concerned me the most.
So I asked him, “How does it make you feel to know you have the power to greatly hurt your brother?”
With eyes glazed over, he said, “Good. I’m glad. Now he knows how it feels.”
And just like, wisdom told me to surrender.
The nose I can clean.
The heart I cannot.
As I lay in bed that night asking God to speak to my boys’ hearts, I felt prompted with yet another heart tug. “Cindy, you do this too. The difference? You retaliate heart-to-heart rather than fist to face, and hidden gloating is far worst than exposed retaliation.”
I’m betting we could all admit that we have felt happy to see other people fail. Not because we wake up seeking to be mean-spirited, but because deep down it feels nice to know that someone else understands what it’s like to cry, to feel kicked around, to be knocked down, to struggle, to have it rough and to experience heartache.
But Proverbs reminds us to not rejoice… to not be full of joy… to not shrug it off when people “know how it feels”… because God sees. God feels. God knows. He has a front row seat to the performance of our heart. And we, made in His image, as a body of believers, are in this thing together.
When one part suffers, we all suffer.
When one part rejoices, we all rejoice.
I’m not talking about outward displays of tears, or hugs, or laughs, or condolences, or congratulatory dance parties… I mean the heart.
What’s going on in your heart when someone is suffering or rejoicing? Is there heart-to-heart connection, or is there heart-to-heart complacency?
It begs the question: “How does it make you feel to know you have the power to greatly hurt your God?”
May our eyes not be glazed over to wisdom.
May we be bothered enough to wisely repent.
May wisdom be our heart-to-heart resolution.