“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” -Proverbs 24:17
On Wednesday night the first presidential debate of the 2012 election was held. As you probably already know Mitt Romney absolutely handed it to incumbent Barack Obama. When even the main-stream media (with tears in their eyes) proclaim a Romney victory you know that it’s probably true. For Republican Christians their “enemy” fell and he certainly “stumbled”.
Truth be told I’m not sure how much we ought to place President Obama in the categories mentioned in that Proverb. But that is okay. I am arguing from greater to lesser. If we aren’t to rejoice even over the fall of a real enemy (judge for yourself if the President fits that bill) then we certainly aren’t to rejoice in the fall of a perceived enemy either.
And that is what sickens me.
I understand Fox News throwing a ticker tape parade. I understand non-believing Republicans mocking the President and rejoicing when he falls. That’s what they do. And frankly they have more dogs in the fight than believers do. This is their kingdom. This is their citizenship. But it’s not ours. It’s not surprising that they would disregard this Proverb. But it is sad when believers somehow think that “Jesus is a Republican” and so it’s totally cool to throw out Proverbs 24:17.
There are at least three reasons why this gloating is wrong-headed:
- We are celebrating the wrong victory. Jesus is ushering in a kingdom that supersedes a Republican American kingdom. Whether it is a Mitt Romney victory of a President Obama victory the Lord Jesus is still on the throne and is still working all things together for the good of His people and the advancement of His Kingdom. Celebrate that. Yeah, let’s celebrate when Roe v. Wade is overturned. Let’s celebrate when things reflect the coming kingdom. But let’s not celebrate like the kingdom is now in full swing because President Obama loses.
- We are blowing a gospel opportunity. You know why the MSM were so sad and blown away by the Romney victory? You know why people were so disheartened by their fumbling president? It’s because he—and the ideology which he represents—has become the functional savior of many. What a great time to heal wounds caused by a toppled idol. What a marvelous time to share about the King that won’t taste defeat. Not in a bragging type of way but in a grace-filled way that realizes no matter if you ride elephants or a donkey you’ve seen your own idols crumble and have found that only Jesus is a rock on which to stand. If President Obama falls there are going to be myriads of people whose hope falls with him. These people don’t need mocked, they need the gospel.
- Nobody likes a poor winner. I thought Mitt Romney really excelled in giving a view of America that is less about which side of the aisle you are on and more about doing the hard things to get our country back on track. He seemed less concerned about “the enemy” and more concerned about the advancement of his kingdom (and that’s not the kingdom of Jesus, by the way). When Republicans gloat on Thursday morning they subtly communicate that politics are more important than the nation. It’s off-putting. And it will give plenty of people a reason to start pulling for the newly crowned underdog. Republicans don’t want to make this an emotional debate. They need to keep it about issues. Mocking photos of the President doesn’t do that.
Let’s celebrate the right victories and be certain that when people are disappointed by fallen people that we not trample them and mock them but instead we point them to our Surety; namely Jesus Christ.