“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” (1 John 4:19-21).

reflect

When I was boy, my uncle occasionally took a couple of my cousins and me to Louisville Motor Speedway on Friday nights to watch figure-eight racing.

We went with the anticipation that we would see lots of wrecks as cars raced around the eight-shaped track and through the intersection marked with a big, white x.

We would stomp along on the aluminum bleachers as the announcer played Queen’s “We Will Rock You” over the loudspeaker: thump, thump, clap; thump, thump, clap.

We cheered at each near miss and got really excited when one of the junky, old cars finally wrecked into another car. We left reeking of sweat and secondhand cigarette smoke … and loved every minute of it.

You know, I think I might just be a redneck.

Wrecks are pretty much inevitable in figure-eight racing, and the drivers are prepared for that eventuality. But what about when something bad happens to someone in our life whom we don’t like? Do we celebrate or commiserate?

Proverbs 24:17 says, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.”

“Well, they got what they deserved,” we might say with satisfaction. Or, “What goes around comes around.”

The Germans have a term for rejoicing in the misfortune of others: schadenfreude.

It’s difficult not to feel schadenfreude—especially when someone seems to deserve their misfortune—but God has called us to a higher standard. We are to love our enemies as ourselves.

First Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

None of us deserve God’s grace that has been freely given to us. Let’s extend some grace to others.

react

>Is there someone in your life you need to forgive?

>How can we keep ourselves from rejoicing in evil?