Monday, May 2, 2011

A Christian Response To The Death Of Usama Bin Laden

I woke up this morning to the news that most the world has heard by now. A task force of Navy Seals, under the operation of the CIA found Usama Bin Laden, attacked his compound, killed him, and buried him at sea. The response by just about all that I have seen is joyful excitement. Crowds have formed spontaneously to applaud and celebrate his death. As I watched the news this morning, my 8-year old son J.T. said, "Dad, are they celebrating that this guy was killed?" "Yes son, they are!"

Let me say first of all, justice needed to take place. Bin Laden was the leader of a group that has killed thousands of people around the world, most notably those who died because of the 9/11 tragedy in America. He was a murder who deserved to die.

Having said that, I feel like I can't rejoice over his death. I am saddened by his death and the response of most people. As I watched the news this morning, something just didn't feel right. Is this the heart of God? Does God rejoice over the death of Bin Laden? Of course not. Several thousand years ago, the nation of Israel was doing some very bad things. God responded to them saying that their sin was upon them and that they would be condemned. But that did not make God happy, in fact, He said:
"'As I live!' declares the Lord God, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:10-11)
As I watched the news, including an interview with Todd Beamer's father who said that Bin Laden is just now paying his dues in eternal hell, I just couldn't help but think that the Christian response should be one of sorrow that another life has perished and is now separated forever from God in eternal fire (I am of course presuming that He never came to Christ before being shot dead). I couldn't help but to think that many who are rejoicing over his death will one day spend eternity being consumed by the same flames that consume him.

I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. In two weeks, I have to deal with this passage: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matt 5:43-44). What would it mean to love Bin Laden for the sake of Jesus?

I cannot help but think what life would have been like had Bin Laden come to Christ on a public stage. How would those in the church have received him? How would they respond if someone who did so many horrible things found the same grace in the cross they found for their acts of anger (Matt 5:21-26)? Do we think that people who have committed those sort of crimes do not deserve the same grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ that we have received?

I want my son to grow up in a society that rejoices over peace and safety. But I do NOT want him to grow up with a heart that grows cold to the death of anyone, even an enemy of the state. I want him to have compassion and a heart that realizes that we are just as much in need of the cross of Jesus as someone who does things like Bin Laden did. I want him to pray for those who are opposed to the gospel. I want him to accept those that come to Jesus, no matter what they have done. I want him to weep over any soul that perishes without Jesus. Christian, don't you want the same thing?

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Thad. I too, want the same for my son...and daughter. We too often hold an attitude of vengeance. And it's not our place. 'Nuff said....

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