“Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’” Mark 15:29-31
How often are we on the lookout to say “Aha!” to someone? How often are we hoping that someone who has made some claim of greatness, or we take some pleasure in seeing someone who has achieved some level of greatness stumble and fall? A bit reassuring isn’t it? Reassuring that the person is human and has the potential to make the same or a similar mistake that you or I might make. Those who passed by the crucified and dying Jesus must have had that same feeling of self-inflation by seeing Jesus who had made some remarkable claims falter and be shown his own limitations, his own humanity.
We all have those dark moments of taking some modicum of perverse enjoyment at seeing another falter or fail. The Germans have a word for this: Schadenfreude.
What would the world look like if instead of feeding that inner “Aha!,” that inner schadenfreude, we did what we could to help the person, no matter what? What would the world look like if we took the time and energy it took us to revel in the person’s defeat, and used that same time and energy in helping to restore the person to wholeness? Do you think we would be helping or hindering the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom?