The evidence of ideological punishment for Christians is obvious, as they have faced years of attacks on their faith. Suffering the heavy hand of liberal activist courts, Christians were fined and driven out of business because they wouldn’t participate in “gay weddings”. Christian colleges have been forced to alter their codes of conduct to enforce non-Christian values (CA SB1146). Pastors have been commanded by the state not to preach anything that would make “transgender” individuals uncomfortable (Iowa Civil Rights Commission). Religious liberty in the U.S. was skidding out of control and religious liberty was just about knocked out of the First Ammendment.
Thousands, maybe millions, prayed mightily for God’s protection. Much to their joy, the American Christian community appears to have had prayers answered. They have been given a tremendous gift from God with the election of Donald Trump as president, along with a republican controlled legislature. Meaningful RFRA laws, strict constructionist nominations to the federal bench, and the reigning in of out of control government agencies are all apparently on the way. Time for Christians to celebrate, right?
Actually, no. Solomon writes :
Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble. Proverbs 24:17
So we shouldn’t gloat, as Christians. The next logical question is “Why not?” The simple answer is that we, too, have been enemies of God at times:
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
Another answer is that in gloating, we foul all hopes we may have of being a living witness for Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” James 4:6 (referring to Proverbs 3:34)
I guess one of the hardest things that a Christian has to learn to do is to love their enemies. It is important to look at the idea in context of how Jesus commanded us in the Sermon on the Mount:
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Christians are powerless, save for the power that is loaned to us by God. As vessells of His power, He gives us an abundance of grace, love and forgiveness. Gloating is the opposite of showing grace, love and forgiveness to the just and unjust alike. If we aren’t actively doing the work of loving our enemies, we are acting as if Jesus Christ hasn’t taken up residence in our hearts and changed us.
Just because we love our enemies doesn’t mean we don’t fight against the injustice they would impose on others. God gives us the power to do His will, and that very well could be to fight in courts, school boards and the halls of government. Christians are certainly encouraged to fight evil at the ballot box. And, win or lose, we give glory to God and move on to the next thing He has for us.
So, as Christians see anger and sadness from those who would have punished and persecuted us, God has given us an opportunity to be Jesus to them. The rewards of doing what God tells us bring us so much more joy than gloating ever could.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” Matthew 5:11-12
So, blessings to you. I hope you’ll pray for me as I struggle with my flesh wanting to gloat, but my spirit wanting to do God’s will. I look forward to reading your comments. Thanks for reading.