February 20, 2013

Evil Delight

Romans 12:9-21

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
—1 Corinthians 13:6-7


At first this statement may seem unnecessary: “Love does not delight in evil.” Any person with a shred of decency hates evil and its effects. Who giggles at someone’s heart attack or laughs at starving children or refugees of war? But every now and then we discover a nasty truth about ourselves: we often delight when others stumble.

We struggle to get C’s. And then on one test we get a B and the class whiz gets the first C of her life. It’s hard not to smile.

Our business turns sour. Creditors knock on our doors. All the while our friends do fine. But then their finances hit a snag. We find ourselves feeling happier because they suffer too.

Or our children make some bad decisions and get into trouble with the law. Meanwhile, our neighbor’s son becomes a respected leader in the community. But then he makes a huge mistake that goes public. Who’s happy now?

Smiling at others’ troubles can make us look better. If we can pull someone else down, we stand taller. Like when a deacon of the church summed up the financial report: “Things did not go well in the past year, and the membership dropped, but at least we can say, ‘Thank God that the church down the street did even worse!’”

The Bible speaks against such delight because it hurts people. “Love does not delight in evil.”

Father, forgive us when we delight in the tragedies of oth-ers. Heal our brokenness so that we can love as you do. Amen.

About the author — Kevin Adams

Dr. Kevin Adams has served as a church planter/pastor in the Sacramento, California, area since 1991. He and his wife, Gerry, began Granite Springs Church in Lincoln, and this congregation has helped to nourish several other church plants. Kevin also serves as a director of the Sierra Leadership Network, a training program for new church leaders.

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