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From: Birdie (birdsongbay) Posted by hostJul-2 8:57 AM 
To: All  (1 of 4) 
 2500.1 
"Schadenfreude"

Ephesians 4:29 - Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

About three weeks ago, I had an old high-school classmate call me up and ask, "Klaus, how is your German vocabulary?" Before I could answer, he asked, "Do you remember what the definition of schadenfroh is?" 

I was in luck. That word was one of about a half-dozen words whose meaning has stayed with me over the years. He seemed somewhat disappointed when I shared the definition: "Schadenfroh is a nasty rejoicing over another person's misfortune."

The example I hear most often is when you are driving down the highway, doing the posted speed limit, and maybe you're even doing a couple extra miles above the posted speed limit. You look in your rearview mirror, and you see a car in the far distance. When you look a second time, you note he has moved up considerably. A third look is unnecessary because he is on your bumper.

The man passes and, in a minute, has disappeared over the next hill.

You pretty much forget the speed demon. You forget until, 20 miles down the road, you see the flashing lights of a highway patrol car. The officer is writing the speeder a citation. Now tell me, what do you feel when you drive past the pair? What do you say to yourself?? In all likelihood you have a little smile on your face as you rejoice in the misfortune of the speeder.

If you say, "He's getting what's coming to him," that is schadenfroh.

My friend agreed, and then he told me about a new internet hero: Indiana State Trooper Sergeant Stephen Wheeles. It appears Sergeant Wheeles had done something unusual: Invoking the state's "slowpoke" laws, he had pulled someone over who was going slow -- so slow the driver was holding up somewhere around 20 vehicles. Thousands of folks were praising the officer and rejoicing over the woman who'd been pulled over.

That's when my friend asked, "Is rejoicing over someone's misfortune a sin?"

It was an interesting question. When I think of the Savior, He seems most concerned about the sinners of this world. The evangelists tell us Jesus has sympathy, compassion, care, and love for people. I never see Him laughing at the problems and pains of others.

The Bible holds no command which exactly says, "Thou shalt not schadenfroh!" On the other hand,

* when the bad thief on the cross was making fun of the Savior, he was reprimanded by the good thief.

* when a man came to David to report he had killed King Saul, David didn't commend the man for bragging about the dead king's misfortune. No, David doesn't reward the man; he has the man executed.

When it comes to schadenfroh, I guess Luther gave us some pretty good guidelines when he wrote the meaning to the Eighth Commandment. How did the Reformer say it? "We should befriend him, speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything." There's just not much room in that passage for rejoicing in the problems of others.

THE PRAYER: Lord, may my heart, mind, and tongue come together to build people up and point them to the Savior. Help me avoid anything that will separate anyone from You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

 
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From: Birdie (birdsongbay) Posted by hostJul-2 8:58 AM 
To: All  (2 of 4) 
 2500.2 in reply to 2500.1 

When God gazes upon you, He sees past the shell; when God looks at you, He sees your interior: your mind and soul. Even if you're a pretty nice individual, even if you try to be a person of honor, even if you work hard at being the best you can be, you, like all of humanity, have your flaws and failings, your shortcomings, and yes, your sins.

Talking about the part of us which God sees, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 'I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds'" (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Think about it. Our happiness depends on people not seeing what we're thinking, not knowing all we're doing. If our thoughts of lust, greed, anger, pride were all flashed on our faces so everyone could read them, who among us would show ourselves in public ever again?

Knowing who we really are and recognizing we could never change ourselves, the Heavenly Father decided to bring about some changes. Unlike a change made to a person's external appearance, the changes God initiated changed our hearts, our minds, our relationship with Him, and our eternity. Through the sacrifice of His Son and the faith-giving work of the Holy Spirit, the old is gone, the new has come.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.

 

 
From: Birdie (birdsongbay) Posted by hostJul-5 9:40 AM 
To: All  (3 of 4) 
 2500.3 in reply to 2500.2 
"Coming Home"

Isaiah 53:4-7 - Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.

Dara Prak lives in Katy, Texas, with his dog Titan. 

Well, better make that, Dara Prak lived in Katy, Texas, with his dog, Titan, until somebody stole Titan from his backyard. For a long time, Prak and his girlfriend searched for Titan. Even months after Titan's disappearance, Prak continued to carry his pet's leash and collar.

Then, about four months after Titan's abduction, Prak received a phone call from the ASPCA in Greenville, South Carolina. The voice on the other end asked if he was "missing a dog." At first he thought someone was playing some kind of sick joke on him. When he realized the call was in earnest, he was all ears.

In short order, he found out

1. Titan had been identified by his implanted microchip;

2. Titan had suffered some severe injuries to his left eye. The person on the phone said they believed Titan had been abused by the folks who stole him, or he had been attacked by other animals.

Finally, Prak found out that if he wanted Titan back he could make the 1,000-mile drive from his home in Katy to Greeneville, South Carolina.

Now this is where we interrupt the narrative of the story to ask if you had been Dara Prak, would you have made the 1,000-mile road trip back to reclaim your dog who had probably been abused? And would you be willing to pay Titan's large vet bills?

I can tell you what Prak did. He called up his girlfriend, and together they made the 16-hour trip to South Carolina. A video of the reunion taken by the girlfriend says Titan was appreciative, and the trip was more than worthwhile.

I have no doubt most Daily Devotion readers would have done the same. But would you have paid the few thousand dollars worth of bills Titan had accumulated? For some folks that's not an easy question.

Now the reason I ask is because once upon a time all of humanity was stolen out of the Lord's Garden. It didn't take long for the Lord to state He would do whatever was necessary to get us back from our kidnappers: sin, the devil, and death.

Whatever was necessary to getting us back was this: God's only Son had to come to earth as a human. True God and true Man, His life was dedicated to fulfilling the Law, resisting temptation, carrying our sins, and dying our death on the cross. Now, because of what the Christ has done, there is a reunion with all who are brought to faith in their Master and Lord.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, once I was lost, and now I am found. Keep me from temptation; stop me from straying, and let my loyalty and thanks always be directed to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

 

 
From: JZBelle DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by hostJul-11 10:36 AM 
To: Birdie (birdsongbay)  (4 of 4) 
 2500.4 in reply to 2500.3 

Re:  Schadenfroh

I thought about the example of the policeman giving a ticket -- I've seen that situation before myself, but I honestly don't think I felt the person "deserved" it.  My thought was when passing that person -- "I was afraid he would get a ticket."  I'm probably guilty in other areas, but that example caught my eye.

Happy Wednesday to you and thank you for your words of wisdom on this.

 

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