“Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
When I fall, I will arise;
When I sit in darkness,
The Lord will be a light to me”. (Micah 7:8)

The Bible encourages us to restore anyone who is overtaken in any trespass with a spirit of gentleness; why? We need to consider ourselves lest we also fall into temptation of a similar trespass (Gal.6:1-5). However, we are to think good of our neighbor how we can bring him/her back to God.

Why should someone rejoice in the downfall of his/her neighbor; especially, in the downfall of close relation? Sometimes, the rejoicing degenerated to the point of despising the trespasser. It does not even stop at that point; it is the intention of the despiser for the trespasser not to be alive.

In the book of Obadiah, the people of Edom were happy at the captivity of Israel by their enemy. The captivity came as a result of Israel’s sin against God. The fact that Israel was punished for her sin does not mean that Edom was more righteous than Israel. Also, Israel’s captivity does not give Edom the right to despise her. We all know that Edom is the descendant of Esau, brother of Jacob; why should blood relations be happy at the calamity of other relation

If this happens between close relations, how would it be between distance relations and those that are not even close at all? But as Christians, we all belong to each other; we are connected and bound by love through our Lord Jesus Christ; we are one.

What are the reasons that would make someone to despise his relative, neighbor or another human being?

  • Assumption of having physical security – power, riches/wealth, armed or intelligence – trusting in earthly security
  • Envy and jealousy – of things others have and they don’t.
  • Resentment and unforgiving – seeking revenge
  • pride – the feeling of superiority over the others

These reasons and more may generate hostility among one another if care is not taken; we must allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thought so that it will not build an evil stronghold in our heart.

The scenario of Edom rejoicing over Israel

When the Israelites were being carried away captive,

  • Edom joined Israel’s enemy to attack Israel;
  • Edom laugh Israel to scorn instead for them to sympathized with them; they reproached, mocked, ridicule, disparaged and despised them
  • Edom helped the enemy to reveal the Israelites hideouts;
  • Edom delivered Israelites who crossed to their territory over back to their enemy; and
  • They possessed what the Israelites left behind.

Edom was doing all these ridiculous things as if they themselves were not guilty of the sin for which their fellow brothers were being punished for (Rom. 3:9). The scripture states “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

The scenario of Job being despised by his friends

Most of us know what befell Job was permitted by God, not for destruction but to confirm His testimony of Job as a righteous man; also, it is a test of Job’s faith. Many times, we don’t know the cause of whatever someone is going through, and the next line of action by human being toward that person is to rejoice over the person or tagging the situation as being the reward of sin.

Job’s friends initially sympathized with him, but later turned around to call him a wicked man and that he was suffering for his sin. Sometimes we have to be careful about inputting meaning into what we don’t know. The more reason we must not rejoice over anyone that seems to be going through one problem or the other.

God’s benevolence mercy changes ugly situations

If God has not cursed you, whatever unpleasant situation you may be going through is temporary. Many times, we go through certain situations only for God to draw us nearer to Him or sometimes for our own safety.

The Lord condemned the accusation of Job’s friends that they spoke nothing they know of Him. God penalized Job’s friends and commanded them to sacrifice a burnt offering and have Job to pray for them. At the end God Himself justified Job as the only one who spoke well of Him.

The Lord blessed Job twice as much as what he had before his crisis (this is after he had prayed for his friends – forgiveness). This is God’s benevolence mercy in action. He stretches it toward anyone who turn back unto Him without partiality.

It is not good for a Christian to despise a fellow Christian; it is not even good to do it to an unbeliever. Our God is the God for all. You never know, your good response to others in time of trouble may heal their wound and turn him/her to God.

Whatever any reason a person is being punished for is not meant to destroy such a person, but to bring him/her to repentance. Do not be happy at your brothers down fall, because God is able to reverse the situation of your enemy to fall on you.


God’s judgment on a person or a nation or someone in distress should not be an avenue for reproach, yelling, mocking, scorning, disparaging, ridiculing or being happy at their calamity; rather, it calls for you to beware and caution yourself so that you don’t fall into a similar situation (1Cor. 10:12).

Don’t rejoice at the fall of your brother or neighbor; rather, pray for them that they may repent and be in good stand with God again.

Is anyone rejoicing over your downfall or over your downtime or over the moment at which God is bringing you back to Himself? All you must do is to be like the prodigal son who said, “I will go back to my Father”. The book of Micah 7:18-20 states, “Who is a God like You…”

  • He will pardon your iniquity
  • Passing over your transgression
  • Does not retain His anger forever
  • He is merciful
  • He is compassionate
  • He will subdue your iniquity
  • He will cast your sin into the depth of the sea

God is ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. When you come back to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ, you will rejoice in God and you will have a refreshing moment before Him, because He will establish you again (Obadiah 17)

All you need to do

  • Do not allow your situation to cause anger that will cause you to sin (Ps. 4:4; Eph. 4:26)
  • Use the moment to meditate on the word of God
  • Put your trust in the Lord, who has relieved you of previous distress and He will do it again
  • When you put your trust in God, there is that confidence built in you that you will overcome your reproach; you will dwell in safety; you will not fear but to rejoice over again in the Lord.

The scripture states

“When the Lord brought back [a]the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the [b]nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad” (Ps. 126:1-3).

Pray these prayers.

  • Grace to stay away from sin to fall on you
  • God to deliver you from the power of sin
  • God to protect and prevent you from anything that can bring shame or reproach on you
  • God to return the wishes of your despiser upon them
  • Grace to please God and do His will to overwhelm your life.

God will shame those who rejoice over you.

By Lawrence Abitogun

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About the Author

Lawrence B. Abitogun, called by the special grace of the Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by the empowerment of the Holy Ghost, witnessing and preaching the gospel to the world, was born to a Christian parents at Uso, Ondo state, Nigeria. He received his elementary and secondary education in Nigeria from 1959-1971. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Science in Industrial Arts at North Texas State University, Denton TX USA in 1979 and 1982 respectively.

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