Proverbs 24:17-18 (NLT)
17 Don�t rejoice when your enemies fall; don�t be happy when they stumble. 18 For the Lord will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.

King Solomon reminds us God does not want us to rejoice when those who trouble us fall from grace. God�s desire is to restore people and He allows the consequences of their choices to discipline them. It is at that time we should show mercy and grace in hopes they may be reconciled to God and with us.

In 1913, the Federal government held a fiftieth anniversary reunion at Gettysburg. It lasted three days. Thousands of survivors camped in the old battlefield, swapping stories, looking up comrades. The climax of the gathering was a reenactment of Pickett's Charge. Thousands of spectators gathered to watch as the Union veterans took their positions on opposite ridges and started toward each other. Philip Myers, [who witnessed the event as an 18 year old] wrote, "We could see not rifles or bayonets; nothing but canes and crutches. We soon could distinguish the more agile ones aiding those less able to maintain their places in the ranks." As they neared the battle line, they broke into one final, defiant rebel yell. "It was then," wrote Myers, "that the Yankees, unable to restrain themselves longer, burst from behind the stone wall, and flung themselves upon their former enemies...not in mortal combat, but re-united in brother love and affection." They came together, old enemies, and spent several moments in embraced hugs, hand shaking, and patting each other�s backs. [The Civil War, p. 412. From the files of Leadership.]

This was a time for reconciliation, not a time to start a new war. The broken and wounded were there where the battle had taken place and the enemy gave compassion freely and openly. God wants us to be compassionate and merciful to those who have been broken and wounded; not resentful and angry. We all need to learn to forgive for our own sake and let grace be our guide.