My Thoughts On The Death of Osama bin Laden

“Do not rejoice when your enemies fall, and do not let your heart be glad when they stumble.” – Proverbs 24:17

Pride. Celebration. Joy. These sentiments outwardly resonated with American citizens on Sunday, May 1, 2011 – a day that, for the rest of our lives, will be known as the day when United States military officials killed Al-Qadea leader Osama bin Laden. As a nation sat and watched hordes of students and adults running toward the White House I could not help but feel slightly uncomfortable. Had I not known that they were marching toward the White House, I could have easily mistaken their destination for a fraternity house.

Certainly it is more than understandable that Americans celebrate this justifiable act of revenge. Few, if any, would disagree that the U.S. military was perfectly within its right to pursue and execute bin Laden, who not only committed some of the most heinous terrorist attacks in the past half-century, but also remained a threat to world peace and security. Yet, our immediate willingness to turn the death of this man into a nationwide pep rally reveals and subsequent blogs and twitter post from some of our nations most visible Christian leaders revels one of the most frightening aspects of modern Christianity in America : the complete neglect, or perhaps the grave misinterpretation, of Christian morality.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructs us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

We've spent the past decade chasing down a man everyone with any sense would agree wasn't worth the dirt he slept on. Was he evil? Yes. Murderer? Yes. Anti God? Absolutely. But as the years past he became more of a symbol of terrorism then just a broken and corrupt human being who used his life to do deplorable acts. It's as if we fooled ourselves into believing that with his death there would be world peace. All nations would begin to get along. And American soldiers would no longer have to give their lives in the on-going battle for freedom and democracy.

Well OBL is dead and there is still no peace, no world wide community of love and understanding, and our men and women in the armed forces are still risking and losing their lives.

Yes, bin Laden’s death is a victory for freedom and democracy against the evil forces of terrorism, oppression and fear. However, with the hordes of Americans around the country acting like their team just won the Super Bowl, we must ask ourselves, is this spirit of celebration appropriate? I don't believe it is.

As I've  listened to the commentary since President Obama’s historic announcement, I felt a sense of uncomfortableness in how this "ding dong the witch is dead" mentality stretched not only to minds of college students, but also our nation’s leaders. One high ranking military official declared that he felt a sense of solace knowing that ground troops, rather than a long-range missile, killed Osama bin Laden. He felt solace because bin Laden himself must have realized that his death was imminent. As sad as this statement was, I can bet that a majority of people would agree with it.

If you are a follower if Christ, then it is our duty as Christians to embody a more reflective outlook, one that seeks justice without demanding vengeance. The execution of Osama bin Laden did serve justice, in Mr. Obama’s words. Yet sometimes it seems justice is better contemplated than celebrated.

Is our world that much safer now then it was before this past weekend? Will the real enemy (Satan) not just insert another person, whom he'll deceive, into the next leader and face of terrorist every where?

Sunday night, each and every American should have felt a sense of gratitude toward our military forces, our President and his administration, and our God. This thankfulness, however, should not have translated into the celebrations that covered our streets and college campuses alike.

In his astute reaction to the news of bin Laden’s death, one prominent minister said, “As someone who worked at Ground Zero in the days and weeks following 9/11 I rejoiced to hear that Osama bin Laden’s long reign of terror…had finally come to an end. As a Christian, though, I cannot rejoice at the death of a human being, no matter how monstrous he was.”

Indeed, as Christians, we are called not only to pray for bin Laden, but also to forgive him. Although our immediate reactions to Sunday night’s news certainly ignored Christian morality and biblical mandates, those of us who label ourselves as Christians should recognize this misstep and alter our subsequent thoughts and actions accordingly.


Kelly Caro said…
This is a tricky subject. As I see it, we must separate what the Lord requires of individuals from governments. Supposing, then, that the government had a right (and obligation) to afford justice here, the question is how ought we respond. Again, it seems to me that one should rejoice when justice is found in a unjust situation. Truly it is hard to be a patriot and Christian at times, but the reason for rejoicing might not be unrighteous. I can imagine a humble heart rejoicing appropriately... yet not obnoxiously. It is, as in all things, a matter of the heart.
Kathy Grant said…
I think this is another awesome blog from a wonderful pastor. Truthfully I agree with these thoughts 100%. I admire Christians who think for themselves, outside the box and are not afraid to go against the masses. I was literally nauseous watching the celebrations on Sunday night. Out of my facebook friends, the ones rejoicing the loudest were the ones who never miss Church. To me that was very unsettling. I always think about how Jesus would have responded. I truly don't believe He would have been in the street celebrating. Once again, I am proud to call the blogger my pastor.

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