Most of us are familiar with the command (not an option) to acknowledge that revenge (pay back) belongs to the Lord (Romans 12: 19). Along with this command comes the assurance that He will in fact even the score in accordance with HIs own timIng and ways. His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55: 8) and He literally has all of eternity to balance the scales. Just as challenging as it is to leave the means and timing of pay back in the hands of the Lord, is equally challenging to maintain the appropriate attitude when our enemy falls. "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles (Prov. 24: 17 NASB)." The KJV and the NIV translations of Scripture present the verse to read, "Do not gloat.....or let your heart rejoice...)." One of the signs of reaching spiritual maturity is when one can pray (and mean it) that God will extend the same mercy towards our enemies that He has shown to us when dealing with our own sin and failures. Gloating takes place when one dwells on his/her own success to the extent that he/she develops an attitude of being "better than others" who have not attained the same level of accomplishment in any given area. A kissing cousins of the sin of gloating in the sin of getting satisfaction when hearing of others' misfortune. Both sins are addressed in Prov. 24: 17. The sin of gloating is common among those who have achieved advanced levels of secular education, financial prosperity, and/or social status. The sins of jealousy and coveting is common among those who have not pursued such goals, but are jealous or envious of those who have and reap the benefits of having done so. Gloating, ungodly jealousy, coveting, looking down one's nose, and evil satisfaction are all acts of disobedience to the Word and will of God. Any act of disobedience to a principle found in the Word of God is sin. Producing a "haughty" look", aka "looking down one's nose" at another human being is a SIN. When one overtly "looks down his/her nose" at someone else, it reveals an inward attitude of superiority he/she has towards the person(s) involved. Such verses as James 2: 10 clearly places ALL of us in the same sinking,stinking boat, no matter how much earthly "success" we achieve. There is nothing wrong with achieving, reaping, and enjoying the benefits of legitimately earned earthly prosperity (3John 1: 2), but evil attitudes that earthly success can promote can be used of the devil to deceive the one's involved. Prosperity WITH God is a blessing, but prosperity WITHOUT God is a satanic trap. Prosperity WITH God is in view when one obtains or retains earthly prosperity when functioning within the parameters established by the principles of the Word of God. Prosperity Without God is in view when one obtains or retains earthly prosperity by the ways of the devil's world. IN times of need, one calls on the Lord. As the old saying goes, there aren't too many atheists in a airliner out of control, spiraling down towards the ground. But in times of prosperity, fallen Man forgets or neglects God and the things of God. It is then that he/she leaves (Rev, 2: 4) or betrays (James 4: 4) what should (Luke 14: 26) be his/her first love. "But I (God) have this against you (believers in Ephesus, or that type of believer today), that you have left your first love (Rev. 2: 4 NABS) italics mine." "You (spiritual) adulteresses, do you not know that fellowship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (James 4: 4 NASB italics mine." See the "Whose Friend Are You?" presentation for more information on this point. "If anyone comes to Me (is born again) and then does not hate (love less) his own father and other and wife (husband) and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14: 26 NASB italics mine)." It is consistent with our fallen nature, that is inherently hostile towards God and the things of God, to find degree of pleasure or satisfaction to see the cheater cheated, the liar lied to, the thief ripped off, the gossiper gossiped about, etc., etc. etc., especially when we, or someone close to us, had been their victim. But entertaining such thoughts is what opens the door to such sins as gloating. The principles of Prov. 24: 17 are not suggestions, they are commands. If and when we choose to disobey ANY command, we open the door to receive divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6). Furthermore, it is OUR sin of gloating or ill will that can result in diminishing of the Lord's anger and discipline that He was bringing into the lives of our enemies (Prov. 24: 18). "Lest the Lord see it (our disobedience to Prov. 24: 17) And turn away His anger from him (our enemy) (Prov. 24: 18 NASB italics mine). Ever question our enemies seem to go hassle-free while we are disciplined? The answer may be found in the nearest mirror if we have been engaging in the sin of gloating. God desires that we, in thought and action, be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8: 29). His Son, did not go about gloating. God is glorified by our obedience, and is dishonored by our disobedience. God disciplines His children (Heb. 12: 6) here on Earth for His own glory and so that they can experience the most that Heaven has to offer (1 Cor. 3: 12-15). All born again believers will enjoy the general environment of Heaven, but Heaven will not be the same for everyone (Matt. 5: 19. Some will experience Heaven with some reward (1Cor. 3: 14. Some will experience Heaven with great reward (Matt. 5: 12). Some will experience Heaven with NO reward (1Cor.3: 15). God as all of eternity and the lake fire to execute divine justice on those who are not His children (born again) Rev. 20: 5). Clearing our soul structures of all the evil attitudes we possess is a part of the post (after)salvation ministry (service) of God the Holy Spirit (John 14: 26) in the lives of those who have been born again and are Heaven bound. Gloating over our success, finding satisfaction over the misfortune of others, and/or looking down our noses at others, are among the evil attitudes that God wants us to rid ourselves. Sin includes every evil thought and action we entertain or embrace. In summary, gloating, evil satisfaction, and/or looking down our noses at others are sins. Any sin places each one of us in the same stinking, sinking, boat of all other sinners. There is NO place for gloating (or any other sin) in the life of an advancing disciple. Like any other sin, it must be acknowledged, confessed, and forsaken IF we desire to move forward in the post salvation spiritual life.
Just because the world at large is going down the toilet doesn't mean that we have to go with the flow!