Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Believer's Response to Osama Bin Laden's Death

We were sitting at the table on Monday night after our family worship and we began discussing a subject I had been pondering all day! What should our feelings be about the death of Osama Bin Laden? Sunday night when word was coming over the news channels, there was excitement that our American Soldiers carried out a wonderfully executed plan and took out a very wretched mass murderer. I remembered back on September 11th, where I was when America was attacked - I remember seeing people dancing in the streets in foreign countries, and I wondered how anyone (outside of psychotic maniacs) could take any joy in the death of thousands of people. I believe, as believers we must think about this event first, not as Americans, but as Christians. After all, that is where our loyalty should lie - at the cross above all else. So, as believers, I think there should be a few specific considerations for us regarding this event:

1. We should rejoice that there is some justice in our world today, which God allows proper authorities to deliver:

Rm. 13:2-4
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

There are some atrocities that are so vile that the only proper punishment is death. Bin Laden’s crimes against not only the United States, but against humanity in general, deserved punishment.

2. We should guard against vindictive hatred, even towards Bin Laden:

Romans 12:19-21
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I am to love and pray for my enemies as a believer. I must be honest, I struggle with this towards such a wicked man… but in my admission of that, (in light of Scripture) I must also confess that this is sin in my life – sin that I must be repenting of as God works His will in me.

3. While justice is done, I am not sure how I feel about dancing in the streets and outright celebration for us as believers. While justice was done, and we can rejoice that it was carried out - that this mad man suffered his due reward for such wickedness, I don’t think we can carry on without pondering the following verses:

Proverbs 24:17 "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, & let not your heart be glad when he stumbles."

Ezek. 33:11 "As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways"

4. We should be in prayer for all of those that have such weighty decisions regarding this world and our country; as well as praying for the families who lost loved ones during 9/11, who are continuing to grieve today. While I am not a supporter of our President in his policies, I am to be in prayer for him, along with the other leaders that have to make incredibly difficult decisions everyday.

1st Tim. 2:8

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying— a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Ultimately, it would have been wonderful to see Bin Laden repent of his sins and turn to Christ. His heart was just as wicked as mine was prior to Christ, and I deserve the same Hell Bin Laden is in today. I want to close with a wonderful quote from Joshua Harris’s blog. It is from a man named Christopher Morgan who has another take on this that is very good:

“I tend to think that we can rightly grieve that Osama bin Laden opposed the true and living God and will be punished accordingly. But we also can rightly rejoice in the defeat and judgment upon people who are evil-and he was clearly evil and deserving of every punishment earth can give. The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age."

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