Dr. Steven G. Minor
Church Politics Administrator
Winning is important, but it is not enough now. The other side must bear more than mere loss; they must suffer. If it has lasted this long, reaching such a strained level of intensity and hostility then it has descended into hellish levels. People are not just walking on egg shells, they are tip-toeing around the all too sensitive landmines. Visitors will feel the tension and not accustomed to its devolving will sense a repugnant spirit. Any sign of God’s Spirit evacuated the toxic facilities long ago.
“Grieving the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 4:30) — such a sad image will be the new identity of this place. Jeremiah spoke of this very situation that “they have forgotten how to blush” (Jeremiah 3:3; 6:15, 8:12).
Leaving the church is neither enough; they must be pursued and further damage must be inflicted. If they have fled to another church then their “devious” character must be revealed to that other harbor.
“Take no prisoners”
The battle cry of Lawrence of Arabia
How can good people do something so evil?
The harsh reality is that only good people would proceed this far and once they have escalated a situation they must proceed to this stage of punishment, or else their sense of goodness would condemn all their actions. Ironically, they MUST proceed into this cruel stage.
If they did not have to defend their sense of goodness and super-righteousness an alternative solution might be found. But heated antagonists will do all within their power to override such a possibility. They want control and their pride demands satisfaction. One must wonder if a pure-hearted person would ever truly compel hostility to such destruction. But reasonable people would never choose this route and could surely not abide through such torment. A functional conscience would have forbid much progress. Only the self-righteous Pharisee could maintain the stress this long. And that is an enraged ego!
After escalating the conflict they must validate their actions or else they will be guilty of some of their own accusations. The other side must be totally overcome and unless the antagonists can prevail completely the doubt will continue to haunt them. Mediation and mutual benefits have been lost. Negotiation has been denied. Their only remaining choice is to punish the opposition. It’s all irrational and sheer hypocrisy, but welcome to the world of conflict hostility, where egos prevail and reason has been compromised.
They cannot allow a tie, which would force them to settle with those evil people. Settling for shared consequences would only leave open the prospects that they may be wrong. Running the hostility so far that would not be acceptable to their pride. Partial control is seldom the objective, and after already escalating the rage to levels already causing damage they cannot settle. That would leave them with some of the fault for the damage done. Their investment has now run too high. The stakes are too great. Their pride forbids any compromise. It’s all or nothing now.
Total victory is the only way they can prove their righteousness. The “other” side or perspective must be eliminated and choices for the outsiders eliminated. Second thoughts cannot be tolerated. With only the victors in control the people have no other consideration about the matter.
Those receiving the abuse must decide if they want to stick it out. Things are guaranteed to not end well. The antagonists have evolved into desperate crusaders at this point. Reasonable comprises are not going to happen. Whatever hope has preserved your endurance this far will be stretched to costly levels that will leave deep scars. The abuse will be harmful.
Part of the desperation of these antagonists will be to avoid counter assaults. If they can take the rage this far by abusing others they certainly cannot tolerate abuse returning back on themselves. It’s the nature of a bully’s heart that inner cowardice will fear the prospects of accusation and accountability. They are only equipped for assault. The maxim is true of them, they can dish it out, but they cannot take it.
The Possibility of Impasse
Surely the urge for mediation counsel has been expressed many times before arriving to this point. Excuses are many and human pride will never exhaust the excuses. Calling in outside help is resisted to great lengths. The longer they hold out the more and more bizarre are the excuses. Just as the avid resister to attending church will never exhaust their well of excuses, so the proud antagonists never run out of reasons to bar outside influences.
“Impasse” is a difficult subject among Conflict Mediators. It carries a sense of defeat and some with emotional investments beyond mere grudges will continue to press for help — do something! Anything! But the sad reality is that sometimes churches and other small groups will find themselves in a situation of impasses. It’s not just for countries fighting for boundaries and natural resources.
You will not find any self-help books on the subject. No one wants to counsel toward this end. No one is going to lay out 10 easy steps to get there. Rather, it happens all by itself. The general chaos of pride and wounded feelings given to the decimation of bitterness is all you need to set the stage for sad impasse. The sides are focused on only themselves and the disagreements have only deepened this sick focus. They are spinning rationalization after rationalization comforting themselves that they are “right.” Unless others will bend to those imaginations, they will remain entrenched in their bitter ego delusions.
Rev Mike Stalls shares this classic story. Called in by middle judicatory to do “whatever he might possibly be able to do just to get inside,” he knew the problems must be running deep. The state group had tried everything with no avail. They were desperate for whatever “trick” he may have up his sleeve to help.
This church had developed a great reputation for absurd conflict — all out fighting with battle techniques out of the “Godfather Manual of Assault.” Several groups had divided up endowments which gave them great power to hold out. The previous wealth was providing the opportunity to continue the bad fight. They sat in clearly segregated deposits within the sanctuary, large enough from a wealthy day gone by to provide ample room … distance from each other. Decapitated rabbits were appearing on doorsteps, heated conversations with great intensity were heard when members accidentally crossed in hallways, anonymous letters sent with venomous threats, late night phone calls with hang-ups upon answering . . . any inner city playground would have been impressed!
Rev. Stalls was amazed, intimidated, but intrigued by what is happening in there. Before a first meeting could be arranged the consensus emerged with bold finality, stating clearly (and I quote), “What conflict? We don’t have any conflict here. Who does he think he is to suggest we may need help with something that does not exist here?”
Rev. Stalls assessment: “I think I’ll just move along to other things.” He had offered services pro bono, merely desiring to somehow intervene in such hostilities before any physical harm emerged and certainly to slow down the emotional harm. Don’t assume hostile environments exist only in foreign countries. It’s probably somewhere within your own area code.
Churches mire themselves in hostile environments when they seek no more than their own comfort and self-manufactured sense of security. Church happens on their terms and if God should show up it must be somewhere within their prearranged order of service. Materialistic minded people will simply not desire the transcendent sense of heaven. That was a time gone by. Any sermons touching upon the miraculous events of the Bible will be heard, but the assessment will be no more than “that’s nice.” A serious encounter with God’s Spirit is simply not on the radar screen. Sunday morning leads to Sunday dinner and then home to football or baseball and … that’s about as far as it goes for most churches. Sad, but it’s the complacent Christians that provide the fertile ground of people seeking power and control. The metaphorical gate to the city has been left not only unattended, it has been left wide open.
Who Will the People Follow?
When conflict has divided the church, different responses happen among the people. Some have left the church looking for other places of worship. They may settle in or simply contemplate waiting until the storm might blow over. Other will leave the church and abandon faith in God all together by what they have seen in people (leaders?) they had trusted. But for various reasons, some will stay trying to avoid choosing any sides despite the pressure. They may have a vested interest in this church where they hold many wholesome memories and they are trying to see the stronger value in those memories instead of what they see at hand.
“People need not act and speak as if they were asleep.”
Maloney’s 16% Rule
Chris Maloney is a marketing specialist from Australia who has taken Rogers’ work one more step in the adoption process. Using such highly regarded sources as,
- Geoffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm
- Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point
- Robert Cialdini, The Psychology of InfluenceThe following chart explains his theory (a fuller discussion may be found in this Web Site, in the “Innovation” category, under “Diffusion of Innovation),
- Maloney has noted that once the Innovators and Early Adopters have bought into the innovation, these two groups make up the 16% mark, a change in strategy needs to be utilized. His orientation is purely from a retail marketing perspective, yet bear noted insight for Churches seeking to transition. Focus needs to shift to “social proof,” evidences of the new idea warranting continued attention.
Sunday mornings will be full of disappointment, but people tend to move along with it all, ever ready to get in line with the herd. If the church had been spiritually alive before the hostility erupted, the people will see a sharp difference and know what they have lost. Buf if the active church was truly functioning within its call of Christ, then leaders would never have allowed the chasm of dissent. If it arrives despite their efforts to resist, the people will know the difference much too decisively. They will long for a church like they experienced before. They are the ones who know what to expect, and it stopped happening here. They are the first to seek that experience again as soon as they can. The ache of spiritual loss will be too great.
However, the church that was not alive before, fulfilling its own vulnerable doom of conflict and antagonism, the people may not be as quick to jump ship, since unfortunately they do not know the difference between a vibrant church body of Jesus Christ and one that was going through no more than the motions on Sunday mornings.
Spiritually dead churches, those most vulnerable to conflict, will likely extend conflict beyond the limits of revived churches, simply because the differences are not as great. People are angry and not talking much to each other, but were they really that involved in each other’s lives anyway? If the Holy Spirit was moving freely within their fellowship before the differences would be too sharp and painful. For the lethargic church, people not talking or caring about each other may not bear that much difference. They did not talk to each other before, just like they are doing now. Some of the passive members may not really notice much has changed. As long as they stay over there and I stay over here … no problem.
Only the die-hard members will hang on for the chance of things blowing over. They won’t care about resolution as much as just “cool it,” for a tolerable Sunday morning experience in worship.
Will anyone really believe either side provides any real improvement to anything? If so, they would be a minority and quite soft spoken at that. The hostility is too high for them to get involved. This building holds no more than a Sunday morning place for peace, safety and the off chance of encountering God. But for most materialistic Americans, Church is supposed to be a reprieve from weekly stress. When they enter the doors to face conflict and hostility, can you understand that even shallow hopes as this are tragically demolished. They won’t be looking for whose side is right. You have just created another conflict party who does not like you for trashing their retreat time. Eventually they will probably leave. At best they will hope both sides collapse on themselves and just go away.
Living in a deadlocked “impasses” situation will strain the senses of most of their stamina. They will try to continue attending on Sunday mornings hoping things will finally just go away, or at least lose their power. They may hold an irrational desire that some Sunday everyone will just “get over it” and return to some semblance of adult like behavior. A pernicious sense of hypocrisy overshadows the whole assembly. What a sham, and it’s all held together by pride and bitterness.
But it won’t hold forever. Underneath the facade the psychological pretense is wearing down. Inner emotional reserves have frazzled to little, barely emoting enough hope to get through the morning around “those people.”
God will have no valid consideration on Sunday mornings. Instead of koinonia, this group has evolved into a mere sorority/fraternity that happens to meet at an unusual time — on Sunday mornings. It’s a travesty. If you should see a young man in a robe with long hair and beard carrying a whip . . . you will understand just how Jesus feels about a church that has evolved into a “den of thieves.” They are thieves because they have stolen the holy purposes of church and worship, for their own greedy and senseless pursuits.
1 Corinthians 15:32
“If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes,
what have I gained?”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
Prolonged stress takes a terrible toll. You may survive this Sunday and the next, but how will you hold up months from now when cooperation and peace are still such a distant memory, a fading dream? Make no mistake, it really is wearing you down — much more than you realize. You will want to stay the course and hold on against these petty trouble-makers, but eventually the displaced strain will wreak havoc. That repressed anger will begin to surprise you with much too quickly drained patience. Children seeking a parent’s love will find hostile bursts not fitting any semblance of a situation. Marital harmony is a delusion. A full night’s sleep? Forget about it!
You will come to yourself one afternoon wondering when was the last time you had an honest spiritual encounter with God. Prayer? Why bother, when under the surface is a simmering anger at even God for allowing such stress to evolve into such torment. And accept this reality, it is pure torture what you are allowing to happen, and now happening to your own health and emotional stability. You must have a bold, serious, honest and courageous conversation with your own soul: is it worth it? That Greeters job at Wal-Mart looks more feasible by the day. Flipping burgers at the hamburger dive down the street would not be so bad. And maybe you will assume a position in insurance or funeral operations that would be your real and somehow overlooked calling in life. What was once a deep passion is now a torture chamber to escape.
Paul and Silas may have handled that dungeon in Philippi with a reserve of faithfulness to God to sing praises at midnight (Acts 16:25), but the toll of ministry under fire finally took its toll on him. The spiritual reserves apparently ran their course so that by the time of his Corinthian correspondence he opened up with this church to express how the struggle had overwhelmed him. Opening his heart and even recording it for historical consideration in the Bible no less, he admits that fear for even his life had befallen him.
Paul reveals an intimate picture of a terribly wounded heart. How severe was his pain to lead to such personal disclosure? It’s not something that antagonists should know for they would only be energized to cause more trouble, like wolves smelling the blood and zeroing in for the kill. But Paul reveals this to trusted friends. This is a witness of a church in action. Once aware of pain within their unity, the rush toward healing and relief rises to the fore.
The picture we are invited to see is one of a devoted minister of Christ who has run himself down. He is on the verge of emotional collapse and perhaps a breakdown has actually occurred to him a while writing to the Corinthians from his reprieve in Ephesus.
“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Imagine this scene, written by a man in the quiet of a borrowed room. He’s momentarily soothed longed enough to write these words. But the ancient form of writing will only allow a few letters at a time to be written before dipping the quill once again. He has lots of time to think between sentences and even words themselves. It’s not a quick writing experience of laptop or ball point pen on a Wal-Mart notebook. Every word is measured. Each word realigns his pain of experiences gone out of his control. It became so intense it festered beyond his control. The fear, anxiety, illness, whatever it may have been had stuck too deep this time and he was ailing in a faraway place, far from home and dealing with his pain.
Not only has vindication escaped him that he might be proven right over his opponents, but he is down to wondering about surviving. Has life itself lost its hold on him? Has the longing for heaven finally reached its apex (Philippians 1:21)? Is he ready to go? Is the earthly pain enough anguish that he finds himself bargaining with God; “Is it enough?” Has he proven his loyalty? He gave up all the fame of a fast track in Judaism just to obey Jesus’ call. Is it enough?
Inventory of Hardships
Although Paul mentions how foolish it is to boast and lament, he proceeds anyway to list his challenges and abuse. The personal satisfaction of drawing pity is not his objective, but to show important lessons of the fleeting of earthly life and the greater splendor of heavenly hope. His experiences weigh in a far greater class than the antagonists he allows comparisons. “Are they servants of Christ? … I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).
– Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
– Three times I was beaten with rods
– once I was pelted with stones
– three times I was shipwrecked
– I spent a night and a day in the open sea
– I have been constantly on the move
– I have been in danger from rivers
– in danger from bandits
– in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles
– in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea
– in danger from false believers.
– labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep
– I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food
– I have been cold and naked.
And from his final writing correspondence he lists his challenges and abuse as though he writes his own spiritual eulogy of better accomplishments than na he faces on earth (2 Timothy 4:9-18),
– Deserted by Demas
– Alone, having dispatched Crescens and Titus, only Luke remains
– Lacking warm clothes
– Abused by Alexander the metalworker
– Forsaken at trial for political/religious accusations
But through it all, Paul can discern the bigger picture, it was God who rescues him and stands by his ordeal. As he describes it, “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength … And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth” (2 Timothy 4:17). With such a list of adversity, one can understand how he can describe it as “fighting wild beast” (1Corinthians 15:32), something beyond usual human trials.
A great secret of his endurance lies in his heavenly hope,
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).
His experiences gave him steadiness for his calling. They did not mire him in melodramatic limbo. He did not march off into a corner of the room to fold his arms. Stick out his lower lip and pout. He did no call for a foul and then defend his right to not play this game anymore, nor to even play it under protest. He realized the playing field of life is never even or fair. But through it all he finds himself compelled into the far greater need of God’s people. It is not about himself, it’s about those who need his leadership and care,
“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” (2 Corinthians 11:28-29).
But the worldly suffering has opened a surprise for his coping. Although the worldly is all but lost, the heavenly has taken hold of him. His earthly life may be done, but his heavenly estate is all the more real. He fought the wild antagonists of Ephesus, but what was the point? As he puts it, if it was just for the human aspect, it was certainly worth it. You could not pay him enough for the abuse to the brink of death. But in the heavenly considerations … now it makes sense. It was the martyr’s heart that picked up Paul in Ephesus. This heavenly consciousness would be his driving force from this point on. Earth is so fleeting, but heaven then becomes all the more real.
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
“Come Before Winter”
2 Timothy 4:21, “Do your best to get here before winter.”
Paul is not too inhibited to request these total change in plans for his young companion, Timothy. In the ancient world, one did not simply book an airline flight and go. To arrive before winter means to spend this season prohibiting open travel and spend a long while with him [probably] in Rome.
Why the bodacious request and why the urgency? If winter travel is so unsure, wouldn’t it better to offer a hospitable stop by if you are in the area?” Surely the experienced reader can sense the damaged soul reaching out for help. Paul is near the end of his ministry, of his life. Rather than buck up and face it alone, he reaches out for help.
There’s an important message here for wounded ministers. If the great Paul the Apostle needs help, and urgently intrudes upon the lives of others to gain this support, then who are you to assume you can go it alone? Really, cut back on those John Wayne and Clint Eastwood videos. Ask and accept the help. Allow your humanness to be itself. If you knew of someone else experiencing the sort of pain you have, would you not hurry to their aid? Well, if that person happens to be you, lighten up and face this. Are you not worth your own care as much as others are worth your care?
But the worldly suffering has opened a surprise for his coping. Although the worldly is all but lost, the heavenly has taken hold of him. His earthly life may be done, but his heavenly estate is all the more real. He fought the wild antagonists of Ephesus, but what was the point. As he puts it, if it was just for the human aspect, it was certainly worth it. You could not pay him enough for the abuse to the brink of death. But in the heavenly considerations … now it makes sense. It was the martyr’s heart that picked up Paul in Ephesus. This heavenly consciousness would be his driving force from this point on. Earth is so fleeting, but heaven then becomes all the more real.
Together into the Abyss they Go
When conflict continues to escalate and take out more and more hostility with explosive rage one will wonder if it can stop. If one side does not destroy the other would they both (or more sides) finally annihilate each other? Will their arrogant rage drag them both into destruction so that no one wins and all suffer, innocents as well as themselves?
The answer is mournfully, ‘Yes.’ Once again, their arrogance invigorates each other the chemical reaction is certain ruin. If one cannot rule the coveted prize territory then they will certainly allow no one else to do so, especially the despised Other Side. They would sooner destroy all rather than compromise even a part.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
John Milton is apt spoken of such hearts, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.” Their own sickened egos push them beyond the realms of reason and into pure greed for power. Their intoxicated and drunken spirits cannot abide with anything less than the power they lust to seize.
What could they possibly gain when both destroy each other? If they both are banished and lose their credibility how can they feel victory that they have won? But their quest has surpassed anything healthy for the prize. Now they wish only to deprive the other from gaining ground. They may have lost sight of victory, but not defeat for the dreaded adversary. Their obsession to punish outweighs their quest to be seen as credible leaders. Their greed for power and control becomes fulfilled in perfect effect over the vanquished.
Their plight has perfectly reversed the course of the Golden Rule
Proverbs 20:22, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!
Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.”
Proverbs 24:29, “Do not say, I’ll do to them as they have done to me;
I’ll pay them back for what they did.”
Crabs in a Bucket
Once upon a time a man was walking along the beach and saw another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
“Why don’t you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won’t escape?” he said.
“You don’t understand” the man replied, “If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them.” So it is with people. If one tries to do something different, get better grades, improve herself, escape her environment, or dream big dreams, other people will try to drag her back down to share their fate.
Moral of the story: Ignore the crabs. Charge ahead and do what is right for you. It may not be easy and you may not succeed as much as you like, but you will NEVER share the same fate as those never try.
(source: Unsure – let us know if you have more information)
Do Not Gloat!
for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
The fact that someone stumbles ought not to cause any alarm. Even the “Righteous” people will lose their footing sometimes. Give them some time and the chance to recover and their virtuous nature will revive them back to the better paths. Our business is never to pass judgment on someone when they are down. The opportunity for proving courage and character is at stake and God is the one who oversees that process.
Do not gloat when your enemies fall;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
But how does one avoid such a temptation? When trouble-makers, sociopaths and other nefarious villains have been wielding their turmoil and suffering and onto others, how can the victims not rejoice with their departure? How much relief can we express before we cross the boundary into gloating and sabotage the entire affair?
Punishment — the Final Release of Anger
Rage that may well have been bottled up and repressed for a long time is finally being purged and the antagonists will relish in the ecstasy. Their pride justifies and demands this intoxicating purge to be justified. To fall short of the full impingement will not only be seen as failure, but the short changing of their desire will feel like a touch of death. They must have this lusting sense of power fulfilled and they will plunge into shared ruin to get it.
“We’ll not capitulate. Never. We can go down.
But we’ll take a world with us.”
– Adolf Hitler
To his Luftwaffe adjutant, Nicholas von Below
in the last days of December 1944
Als Hitler Adjutant, 1937 – 1945
(Meinz, 1980). p. 398
It is a fact that cannot be denied:
the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness
because it kindles something evil in our own hearts.
— Carl Gustav Jung
The healthy man does not torture others –
generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.
— Carl Gustav Jung
“Terrible he rode alone
with his Yemen sword for aid;
Ornament, it carried none
But the notches on the blade”
“The Death Feud”
an Arab war song
(as quoted in DeMille, “The Lion’s Game”)
“Revenge is a dish best served cold”
Old Klingon proverb
“He tasks me! He tasks me! And I shall have him. I’ll chase him round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition’s flames before I give him up!”
Star Treck, The Wrath of Kahn, Chapter xxxvi, “The Quarter Deck”
Shame and Domination
The parties are locked in an all-or-nothing battle. Egos rule the field and reason has evaporated from all consideration. Blind in their rage they seek only to “win” and especially to finally dominate. Simply driving the offensive foes is not enough. They must suffer the indignity and shame because of their insubordination. Even though the church may suffer such irreparable harm that nothing will be left to claim, but at least they will have won. Seeing their opponents suffer and collapse in shame becomes their obsession.
Negotiation is no longer the issue. Compromise is not an option. “Those people” must pay the price for infringing upon our sacred soil of control and rule. Allowing the minister to simply relocate will be a hard fought goal. Such hostile antagonists just might follow you to inflict damage where you have been perceived to flee and find refuge. Other must “know” how bad you are. A life time of hurt drives these out of control egos.
Be prepared for legal consequences. Hostilities really can go that far and intense Sociopaths would love the attention that adventure. You better have a detailed “Log” ready for your defense (see Stage 3, “Problem with Someone”).
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
. . .