The title would seemingly contradict clear Bible teaching. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Romans 12:15 exhorts us to, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” Given just these two scriptures, and there are many such like, one would think there would never be a time when we shouldn’t rejoice.
In fact there is a time when, even if we feel like rejoicing, we should not.
Proverbs 24:17 tells us, “Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth.” If there is ever a time when some feel like rejoicing it is when an enemy falls. Many live daily facing persecution in some way. Others face the stress of life brought on by the bad behavior of others. So why would it be wrong to rejoice when those who make our life hard stumble themselves?
The Bible tells us that rejoicing when an enemy falls displeases God: “Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:18). It is always God’s preference that everyone obey the gospel and be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). And even though “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11), He still says, “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? and not that he should return from his ways, and live? (Ezekiel 18:23).
According to Jesus our Lord, we are to be, “perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). If therefore our heavenly Father desires that all wicked turn from there evil ways and live, so should we. Taking pleasure in the stumbling of a brother would be unheard of in the church. Rejoicing over the fall of those that hurt you should never happen either.
In Christ, Steve Preston