menu

What A Great Day

What A Great Day September 1, 2021

This is a great day. This person to whom I have never been personally introduced is pretty unhappy, which, NGL, makes me pretty happy:

We just finished Obadiah in our Tuesday Bible study (it only took two weeks), and in it discovered that God was super irritated with Edom for gloating “over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune.” Judah was lying in ruin, and Edom was rubbing his hands in glee. This disturbed me for two reasons. First of all, that’s not very nice, but second of all, what about the glimmering feelings of schadenfreude when the wicked don’t prosper? Is there ever a place to rejoice over the destruction of the ungodly? And how can you tell who is your enemy? Or if you are God’s enemy? And doesn’t God himself laugh his enemies to scorn? And isn’t Jesus sometimes awfully sarcastic about the Pharisees? Surely it’s ok to be happy sometimes about the destruction of one’s enemies.

Yes of course it is, our little class concluded, with many provisions. If you’re feeling like gloating over the destruction of your enemies, you should stop and take a quick accounting of yourself and what it is you are gloating about. In Edom’s case, they had rejected God themselves and were in no position to gloat about anything. They had been disobedient and wicked. Instead of repenting, though, they were happy when their neighbor, Judah, also fell under the judgment of God. Instead of seeing the caution for what it was–a time to repent and obey the Lord–they heaped up more trouble for themselves by closing their gates against Judean refugees and otherwise being awful.

If you’re going to indulge in a little schadenfreude, in other words, you first must make certain that you are not the baddy, which is hard, because you have done a lot of bad things. You have a lot of things to repent of, things that maybe no one has ever seen or known about. So you should start there before thinking about anything else. And from there I think loads and loads and loads of grief over all the babies who never got to see the light of day is the most appropriate feeling. We cannot possibly know what it has done to our collective souls to have so many people disappear from human society before we even got to know or see them. But then, you know what, a little bit of joy about all the babies who might be spared–and the women who will not be invited to tread down a dark and perilous path–is totally warranted. It may be, if we go on repenting and trying to obey the Lord, that he will have mercy. And that is so much better than being laughed to scorn by the God who holds the power of life in his hand.

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash


Browse Our Archives