Friday, 12 May 2017

Glad at calamity

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.  - Proverbs 17:5

I am seeing something that concerns me. I hope it is only Facebook and online communications that I am seeing, but it seems to go much deeper. I see news and videos and images of a new spirit, even among God’s people.

I don’t know exactly how to explain it. It is ‘gotcha’ or a ‘boom’ or a rejoicing and gladness and even sheer seeming joy when someone suffers a hardship or a difficulty or a problem.

Proverbs 24.17 also reminds us ‘don’t rejoice, or gloat when your enemy falls.’ When our enemy falls all we can do is to thank God for our victory. It is never a cause for gloating or boasting.

This scene from Henry V after the battle of Agincourt says it well. Henry had just been informed of the marvellous victory over the French and the minuscule English losses.

Come, go we in procession to the village.
And be it death proclaimed through our host
To boast of this or take the praise from God
Which is his only.
Is it not lawful, an please your majesty, to tell
how many is killed?
Yes, captain; but with this acknowledgement,
That God fought for us.
Yes, my conscience, he did us great good.
Do we all holy rites;
Let there be sung 'Non nobis' and 'Te Deum;'
The dead with charity enclosed in clay:
And then to Calais; and to England then:
Where ne'er from France arrived more happy men.

Henry knew the danger of rejoicing over a fallen foe. It is a trait we have lost today in so many ways. There is no place in our lives for ‘take that’ or an ‘in your face’ attitude.

This worries me. It worries because the world is starting to see no difference between us and them. The world sees Christians rejoicing when those they don’t like fail. This is a shame and God hates it.

It is time for the church to stop rejoicing when calamity strikes others. 

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