Schadenfreude: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2018.
Current events in pop culture, sports and politics have generated unpleasant if not repugnant stories of bad behavior. The news cycle seems to spew out stories of deceit, lies and abuse of power in what seems like a constant barrage daily. Within those stories, I will admit that I enjoy it when a person gets his comeuppance.
Let's face it, we live for what we feel is cosmic justice. Schadenfreude is a German word for this fascination. The world roots for Karma and when we see it we cherish the effects. For example, the loudest cheers in a movie theater happens when the bad guy gets defeated. In fact, many do not like movies where the bad guy seemingly wins.
Our politics are not far from this pettiness as well. We joke and make cruel memes about our leaders of either side of the political spectrum slightest shortcomings. We are more inclined to repeat a good zinger than construct or listen to a valid point from a position we might not like. I am not above the political rhetoric being used in these times.
I was fine with schadenfreude. I have laughed as I watched other get theirs. Sympathy and empathy were reserved for victims and other less fortunate souls whom I thought deserved my concern.
But is that Christ-like? This meditation hit me hard. The Bible tells us that we are all sinners. We all have had our fall from grace. Christ came to this world to save us from ourselves. Our savior frees us from the penalties of our misdeeds and redeems us in the eyes of our Lord. Christ also commands us to forgive and turn the other cheek and that is every time a transgression occurs. Lastly, the Bible tells us that God/Christ has reserved themselves to be judges and that it is not our job to judge. My schadenfreude is not Christ-like. In reality, Christ asks us to approach every person with kindness, sympathy and empathy. My delight in the failings of the rich and famous does not meet that call.
The good news is that we are forgiven for our schadenfreude. God's grace comes freely with our repentance of our actions. It will be hard not to be so judgmental of those who commit evil acts. However, Christ calls us to rise above this pettiness to seek a new relationship with one another based in love. I hope to share in the sympathy and empathy that has been showered on me in my walk with Christ.