Sterling Principle # 28
“Don’t laugh when your enemy falls; don’t crow over his collapse, God might see, and become very provoked, and then take pity on his plight.”
What makes a person our enemy? It takes two to have an enemy relationship. If they are our enemy it means we are reciprocating evil for evil most likely. Matthew 6:14, 15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” If we have an “enemy” that means we have refused to forgive them. To refuse to forgive is to refuse God’s offer of forgiveness for one’s self.
To laugh over a disaster that overtakes an enemy means that we have accepted the enemy relationship. We have not forgiven. That is our first and foremost problem. But to laugh at their ruin provokes God because He sees our true heart of unforgiveness. He will have more compassion for our enemy than we do and that hurts Him because He wants to forgive us. But He cannot forgive us if we do not forgive others. That is why it is said that to refuse to forgive hurts us more than any supposed “enemy.”
Consider the extent to which Jesus went to forgive our sins. He did not fight back to those who made themselves His enemy. He submitted to their torture and humiliation as an example to us of what we may have to face. His prayer while hanging on the cross was “Father forgive them for they don’t realize what they are doing.” That must also be our dying prayer. That means we take no enemies to our death beds, for in so doing we seal our own fate—cutting ourselves off from God’s forgiveness. There is only one way to take no enemies to our death-bed and that is to forgive daily whatever we have against another person. Don’t provoke God!
God’s Question: Will you invite Me to help you forgive?
God’s Promise: To harbor resentment is to refuse My forgiveness.
My Prayer to God:
I praise You for your willingness to forgive us all.
I am sorry I have way too often failed to forgive.
Thank You for this reminder to always forgive.
Help me keep short accounts with anger and just forgive.