We carry it around with us like an invisible back-pack. All our failures, all our insecurities, all our injuries, all our shame that has been a result of what others have done, what we have done and what circumstances have done. As grudges keep multiplying, the fresh injuries are added into that back-pack. The older we get the heavier it becomes and its weight cuts painfully into our shoulders. And unlike the Pilgrim in John Bunyan's allegory we have never learnt to lay it at the foot of the Cross.
So when something bad happens to someone who has been the instrument of our injuries, we gloat. A satisfaction that he got what he deserved. He got a taste of his own medicine. He is reaping what he has sown. But it is wrong. It is wrong for many reasons. Here are my 10 reasons why we should not gloat:
- We do not know all the just reasons behind a person's crisis
- We do not understand the justice of God fully to remark on what God is doing and why
- We should not show contempt on someone who is now in need of mercy
- We reveal our own vindictive immaturity when we gloat on another's fall
- We do not yet carry the full image-likeness of Christ to understand God's holy acts of judgement
- We cannot pervert the justice of God to narrow-mindedly think it was done for our benefit
- I am myself under judgement for my failures, so how can I gloat on another when I too need mercy?
- Gloating itself is an act of vengeance arising out of our warped insecurities
- Gloating is not a part of God's character in being holy
- The Bible commands us not to gloat (Proverbs 24: 17-18, 28-29; 25: 21-22)
Let me close, with the prayer of an orthodox Jew each night: "I hereby forgive anyone who has angered me or provoked me or sinned against me physically or financially or by failing to give me due respect, or in any other matter relating to me involuntarily or willingly, inadvertantly or deliberately, whether in word or deed: let no one incur punishment because of me." *
*J.Sacks, The Koren Sidenur, Koren 2009, page 294