(April 1, 2015)
It is a common flaw to rejoice in others’ misery. After all, we aren’t rejoicing in the misery of those we like, or our friends. If we are tempted to rejoice in someone else’s misery, they are usually someone who we are opposed to (or who have hurt us). It is easy for us to say in our hearts that the person who hurt us is only getting their just deserts, or deserves what they get, or anything of the sort.
Of course, those who rejoiced at the fall of
had similar reasons to rejoice – Israel took land from them, and
oppressed them, and so forth. But Israel
was more than a mere country – it was a people with a special relationship with
God. So too are those who we see that we
might be tempted to experience a similar joy in misery in a relationship with
God. The one suffering is a child of
God, and we should never enjoy their suffering for suffering sake.
On the contrary, it is possible to see their challenges and rejoice (as did
Alma with his son) when it
seems the challenges are the works of God bringing the person back to the
fold. But to rejoice in another’s misery
as ‘punishment’ not only places us in the position of judge, but it also ends
up causing us to account good for evil.
We view the Lord’s efforts to bring His son or daughter back to Him as
the cruel and capricious actions that we would take were we in His shoes.