“You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their destruction, nor boast so much in the day of their trouble.” -Obadiah 1:12 (NIV)
Human tendency is to gloat, especially if we feel someone has gotten what they deserve. When we see someone suffering the consequences of their behavior, or when truth vindicates us in a dispute, our first reaction is to smirk and adopt an “I-told-you-so” attitude. However, where is the love and mercy of Christ, that we are called to display, in such a response? Our pride thirsts for moments to prove our superiority, to boost our confidence in our own so called righteousness and purity. But the very fact that we gloat over another’s misfortune is ample evidence to prove that we are just as wicked and cruel. By slandering those who have fallen, we breed hate, contempt, and malice in our hearts; things that should be absent from someone who claims to be a child of God.
All of humanity has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is for this reason that none can enter Heaven solely because of their righteous deeds. Our wicked and sinful nature corrupts any good work that we perform out of our own effort. Yet Christ did not come down to Earth to condemn the world in its sinful state, but that through Him we may be saved from destruction. The only basis upon which we can claim righteousness is that we are made pure and holy through Christ’s redemptive sacrifice and His indwelling in our hearts. Christ did not look upon our failings with scorn, but with mercy and love. He has forgiven our sins by His blood and promises eternal life through Him even though we were deserving of death because of our iniquities. Therefore we must not look down upon others for their shortcomings and for the injustices they have done. Instead of performing a victory dance celebrating our righteousness over the wickedness of others, we should look upon our fellow man with the mercy, grace, and love that Christ shows us. When we allow Christ to take control over our attitudes, words, and actions we will be able to see ourselves and others in light of the grace of God and actively seek to let others know of the hope of redemption that can be found in Him.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.