Schadenfreude: the enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.

I recently came across this word in my readings and discovered that it struck a chord in me. Schadenfreude seems to be a feeling that is difficult to avoid even in the best of circumstances. What I mean is when someone who is doing great damage to others gets stopped abruptly due to personal trouble or difficult challenges etc. Who does not find enjoyment in that? Perhaps only someone with perfect love? Perfect love. Schadenfreude. Any thoughts?


that is the emotion behind some types of comedy that seem to appeal to people in most cultures (the slipping on a banana peel type). I guess it would come under the sin of envy, wherein not only being dismayed at the good fortune of others, one is also rejoices in their misfortune. I don’t know however if it is the same thing as rejoicing when a bully gets his just reward, or is stopped from harming others.


Enjoying seeing someone suffering who didn’t deserve it is certainly bad. As is wishing suffering on someone. When someone deserves it, one has to cautiously separate the illegitimate pleasure at another’s suffering with the legitimate pleasure of seeing justice meted out and the moral order being reaffirmed. For example, while I am sad for the priest this story facing excommunication for obstinately and formally supporting women’s ordination, I’m glad to see bishops affirm that the cafeteria is closed.


Well, the first thought that popped into my mind… is how greatly it must hurt Our Dear Lord… when a soul chooses hell over Him.

That is the greatest disaster I can imagine, happening to someone. Sadly, this is what happens to souls… who have repeatedly rejected Our Savior… through lives of sin. :frowning:

It would certainly seem to me, that this “Schadenfreude” is wrong (in our own lives). Because of the immense sadness caused to Our dear Lord, when a soul is lost. He finds no enjoyment in such a tragedy. Should we then? :nope:


Schadenfreude is built into not only comedy but many movies and stories we watch and read. Remember the sound of cheers in movie theatres as the villain meets his/her demise?

It is almost hemmed into the prayers of the Bible.

Repay them for their deeds, for the evil that they do. For the work of their hands repay them; give them what they deserve. Psalm 28:4

I can see your point of view - schadenfreude being akin to envy at particular times.


This would be an example of legitimate relief from negative stress - **relief **from injustice. Perhaps pleasure and glad are the wrong words to describe a positive feeling from justice well served?


How much more pain does one inflict on God when rejoicing in someone else’s pain or demise?

It seems that to avoid schadenfreude one would need to love God above all else.


Precisely. :wink:


Oh, I just can’t help myself.

Yeah, a couple naughty words, but you can take it I figure, and the execution is terrific (think Kermit the Frog and Gary Coleman doing a fairly salty song alllllll about schadenfreude), and it’s a total stitch! :smiley:


I agree with you, MV. When I read the OP, I frowned…since my love is certainly not perfected but I find no joy whatsoever in the slightest in the troubles of others even if they seem deserved or even bring about an end to their wrongful ways. I always feel sorrowed at the sufferings of others - at the underdog as we call it here in any way even if assessed by all as deserved. I have been like this since a child and often back then pre V2 educated by nuns, my compassion for the ‘evil doers’ was condemned which never stopped my feelings of compassion, just taught me to keep some feelings to myself - between The Lord and I to avoid hurtful situations. My heart burst with joy many years later to be informed that I do not have to share my feelings with anyone who asks, that I can keep them personal to myself and it is ok to state this.
Perhaps schadenfreude looses something in the translation? (question not a statement).

Job Chapter 31


If I have been glad at the downfall of him that hated me, and have rejoiced that evil had found him. 30 For I have not given my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul. *

…and if we take joy in the bad times that come to the evil doer, it is the same as wishing him/her bad times.

Good to catch up with you on these boards, MV…Barb:)


I bet it is! Very often to send up what we regard as holy or our own personal ‘sacred cows’ is funny if done cleverly - and if one is not one of those dour faced saints with no common sense let alone joyful sense of humour!:smiley:

It is another thing entirely to recommend that a joke be taken as a Gospel truth and advocated as a spiritual reality.

No need to abandon the sublime in favour of the ridiculous!:thumbsup: No need to abandon realities in favour of cartoons either, as very funny and even at times as accurate as they can be in highlighting realities that are the diametric opposite to a Gospel truth and spiritual reality.



Oh, it has plenty of realism and accuracy…sure, it’s humor, but it’s not ‘wrong’ in intention at all. I’d call it sublimely ridiculous, and a source of joy even though we do fail to be perfect - we need that to keep on keeping on, I think. :slight_smile:

I mean songs and wit like this, not necessarily schadenfreude itself, but the understanding of the concept. Also, it is groovy.


Well, if someone really deserves his bad luck and then gets it, I might gloat a bit. I’m very far from perfect.

However, I don’t feel good if bad things happen to an innocent person.


I think the type of cartoons since the arrival of the television cartoons for sure and even predating that, to laugh at the punishments meted out by fate to the evil doer are legendary and we all split our sides laughing at their fate. I know that “Road Runner” has always been a favourite of mine. And I am 62yrs of age and was raised as a child on a ‘diet’ of cartoons re television.

There is also Tweety Bird and the poor stalking cat, ever to come to a sticky end. Most all cartoons if not all I think have as this theme of enjoyment at the just fate of the evil doer. And they are very funny cartoons some of them that I can still enjoy.

This is not to proclaim a Gospel truth and spiritual reality of course, nor ever intended to do so. Although I think it probably did get through to the child subconscious somewhere that a bad fate just may await an evil doer and good reason to watch my step:D

If there are any Christian child book writers, perhaps one could create a cartoon type story where the victim laughing at the dreadful fate of his oppressor also meets a sad fate.:confused:



The book title might be: He Who Laughs Last Laughs the Longest - Till an Anvil Falls on One’s Head.


hmmm - I’d never heard this jingle before.
Yup, the truth is that we are not perfect and it is quite likely that schadenfreude will get the best/worse of all at some point or another. The line in the jingle about the vegetarian made me laugh aloud :o
I have a very good hunch that schadenfreude is as common throughout all human life as linking verbs and the air we breath.


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