Today's devotion from Proverbs 24.
As football season prepares to ramp up, I am of two minds. First, I'm excited because my beloved Tennessee Volunteers are going to be playing! Secondly, I'm fully anticipating a disappointing season, because I am the kiss of the death. (Sorry St. Louis Cardinals' fans) However, I've always had a bit of different view on defeat.
The last few years, another SEC team (who shall remain nameless) has done very well, playing for the national championship often. Many of my fellow Vol fans adamantly cheer against this team. They want revenge. The only problem with that is that if another team beats them, it's not really our revenge. Instead, I've always cheered for the teams who defeated my teams. My logic is this: if I'm going to be beat, I want to have been beaten by the best.
Proverbs 24 is concerned with how we relate to the evil and our enemy. We shouldn't be envious of evil men (vs. 1). We shouldn't rejoice when our enemy falls (vs.17). We should not worry because of evildoers (vs. 19) presumably as they prosper. Instead, we are told that they have heart problems, that God would be displeased without happiness at another's hardship, and that evil men have no future.
In this, I believe the author wants to cause our perspective to shift. When you read his words concerning the state of those we might be tempted to envy, it almost seems that he would have us...pity them. That's right. It appears that we should feel sorry these who presumably stand against us and our God. Why?
The reasoning for this is 2 fold. First, the verse seem to imply that we should trust God to deal with others in His way. The second reason is their eternal state. What good is it to have all the gold in the world, but have to leave it behind upon entering eternal suffering without God? Sure it's painful to witness or feel the sting of injustice. But how much worse to stand before God as the one guilty of committing the injustice?
When you think about this from this perspective, it's easy to see why we should feel sorry for the evil enemy. It makes it easier to pray for them. It makes it easier to humanize them and feel genuine pity. While we may think we want revenge, let us pray to desire the spread of the gospel instead. After all, I really don't want what I deserve either.