|Volume 24 Number 1 January 2022
The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi from a Roman prison around A.D. 61-63 and told them, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NKJV). This passage is the theme of the Book of Philippians, one of the four prison epistles of Paul, aside from Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon. Christians are to rejoice always despite life challenges. King Solomon said that there is “a time to laugh” and “to rejoice, and to do good” (Ecclesiastes 3:4b, 12). However, there are occasions when it is not appropriate to rejoice, yes, to be glad. This is the thrust of this piece.
It is inappropriate to rejoice at calamities, as the following passages note. Mull over what you read, and act fast on them. “…He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 17:5b). “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles” (Proverbs 24:17). Christians are to rejoice always, however, this rejoice is a limited rejoice in that it does not cover rejoicing over enemies, haters, persecutors and calamities.
Christians, as children of blessings, must not wish evil to their foes, but rather they must abide by what Christ said in Matthew 5:44-48, which reads, “…Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven… Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
In prayer, bless, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14). May we in our prayers bless and give thanks to God always (Ephesians 5:20). Let us to not rejoice at calamity.
The presence of social media allows a single statement to travel the world in milliseconds. Have you ever thought about the power of sending a single message? Much good has been accomplished via social media. Many people gain the opportunity to hear the Gospel preached. Others beg for prayers from those who believe. Comfort comes from reading stories, Scriptures or encouraging thoughts sent out from “friends.”
On the other hand, much harm oozes from the screens of mobile devices. Many disparage life while blaming God for troublesome times in their lives. The language used by our “friends” and even other Christians ought to make us blush as we read them. One of my favorite YouTubers made this comment: “If you voice an opinion on social media, someone will rebut it. What one would never say to your face, he will throw it on social media. If I said, ‘chocolate chip cookies are great,’ someone would disagree.” Not being able to see the face of those who read our messages or hear their responses gives us a type of blind strength.
As a follower of Jesus, there are several verses we ought to consider in our conversations with others. Note the following list that was compiled by Karen Ehman.
The world strives to draw us back into it. Troublesome times and desperate situations tend to be an inlet for Satan to gain a foothold. When scrolling through Facebook, we may find posts with content presented in hurtful, divisive and even hateful ways. Such posts may even be laden with filthy language, which we would never utter in public. Impulsively and in the heat of argument causes more harm to our influence than we will ever be able to overcome. May we echo the words of Paul, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).