How do we react when criticized by others? How do we react when others give in to all-to-human temptation and fail to meet standards expected of them? How do we react to those who "do" evil? Solomon gives some words of insight:
Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against the home of the righteous; do no violence to the place where the righteous live; for though they fall seven times, they will rise again; but the wicked are overthrown by calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble, or else the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from them. Do not fret because of evildoers. Do not envy the wicked; for the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will go out. My child, fear the Lord.... (Prov. 24:15-21)
The first verses seem to warn us against attacking those who are "righteous," for the simple reason that they will always recover but those involved in the attack will be overcome by calamity or distress. But if you turn these verses around, they are also a word of encouragement to us if we are living righteously (in right relationship with God and according to God's will). We may experience some hard knocks in life, but with God's help we will have the endurance to get up again.
The second point made in these verses deals with how we treat or respond to our "enemies" when they stumble and fall. All too often in our society we read about a religious leader, a politician, a teacher, a (you fill in the blank) who is caught taking a bribe or cheating on a spouse or (you fill in the blank). Solomon warns us against an attitude of self-righteous superiority in such cases. It's not that we should remain silent about wrongful conduct, but we should not engage in personal attacks. God will judge.
Finally, the third section warns us against envying the wicked (who seemingly act however they want and prosper). Again, we are to rely on God to judge and make things right in the end.
Meditation: It's hard to be patient and trust that God will work things out at some distant time in the future when we see evil around us right now. It's also hard to know how to speak out against evil acts without making personal attacks. And yet, that is what Solomon says we are called to do. What does that look like for you? Does it change what you say about others or how you say it?