Bin Laden, Death, Victory, Rejoice, Sadness,

Osama-Bin-Laden I watched the planes hit the towers on the cool September morning almost 10 years ago.  I was just getting ready to take the kids to school, CNN was on, and I watched as America would take the biggest attack in her relatively short history. 

More people died than in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the outrage was universal.  The whole world galvanized to support America and reach out to her while she was down. 

Last night, the death announcement of the mastermind brought closure to almost 10 years of torment. 

People shouted in Time Square.
USA. USA. USA. could be heard all along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. 
Celebrations erupted around the country.
And "God Bless America" was being sung in the hallways of Universities. 

So as believers, what should our response be? 

Should we rejoice justice has been brought to events of 9-11?

 

Should we feel justified?

What of the comments when Jesus claims, "Love your enemies.  Do good to those who harm you?"  Is there anything we need to learn there?

I must admit, for weeks after 9-11, I had a re-occurring dream where I personally hunted Bin Laden.  Every night I woke up in cold sweats after I put the bullet in Bin Ladens Forehead.  It was in my dreams, but it still caused me to wonder what was going on in my subconscious.  It was a troubling week, and I often wondered, "God, am I feeling right?"

I would read Jesus, love your enemies, but my enemy needed to be brought to justice, right?

Soon after 9-11, I watched the rallies in New York, as millions tried to make sense of innocent killing. They tried to rally together.  They tried to call on politics to handle the mess.  We read of secret CIA attempts of knowing where Bin Laden was, and we punished the Tora Bora crew for missing him.

Much of my thoughts at the time were emotional. How could someone want to kill innocent people?  Why would a religious master mind want to take out civilians?  Furthermore, how were we supposed to view Muslims here in America?  Let alone the atheists who would crawl out of the woodword claiming all religions are violent and we should do away with God.

It was a dark time to be a Muslim for sure.  It was almost as if you had to choose to either be with the terrorists, or with America.  I remember sitting with an Imam at Georgetown University and asked him, "I know not all Muslims are terrorists, but why are all the terrorists seemingly Muslim?"

How silly.  My thinking of religion was tainted by a rogue group of vigilantly global crusaders.  They are the same as the crazy Baptists of Topeka, or the Delusional Pastor in Florida burning sacred books. 

But what was I to think of this man Bin Laden?

He was a self proclaimed murderer of thousands?  How are we to handle something like this?

The Bible makes a few different claims concerning enemies.

  1. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48) – Jesus
  2. Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! (Ezekial 33:11)
  3. Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. (Proverbs 24:17-18)

I'm even challenged by some of the great leaders of the past. 

"Through violence you may murder the hater,but you do not murder hate.  In fact, violence merely increases hate.  So it goes.  Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,……adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness:  only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."         Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
So I wrestle today. 
Am I pleased this dark symbolic chapter of violence is closed?  Sure I am.
Does my spirit want to rejoice in the fact justice is served?  Sure it does.
Does my mind warn me of deeper issues that will take me to darker places if I hold a paradoxical worldview of Peace in the New Testament with the Judgement and wrath God is coming to serve?  YES!
This is probably to most problematic issue for me.  How can God bless America when the killing of a killer is issued? 
Didn't the Muslims say "Allah Akbar" on 9-11 for the same reasons, or in other words…God bless us for the violence we are ensuing on those WE see as villain, mainly America? 
Of course it might lead one to say, "Well our God is Bigger.  Our God is Greater",but the fact is there is only One God. 
God doesn't need to be above other gods, unless He in fact there are other gods, and our God isn't God. 
So the greater question is, whose side is God on? 
I believe the Bible answers quite clearly.  "For God so loved the world." (John 3:16)  "that He gave His only begotten Son.  That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
God Loved the world, and all the children in it.
God's side is on those who repent and turn to Him. 
So as my spirit wants to leap with excitement this chapter of Bin Laden is closed, I'm readily aware of God's pain for the millions of people who die apart from being in His family. It's the whole world that suffers when someone moves from under the banner of God's umbrella of grace and forgiveness. 
May we be a people who humbly approach the justice we serve.
May we take caution our emotions don't leap too fast when God's will be done.
May we continue to focus on our primary objective as faith followers, "Go therefore and make disciples to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And teaching them to obey all that I have commanded.  For I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'  Matthew (28:19)

 

6 Comments

  1. Very difficult day. I was saddened to see the celebration over the death of this very evil man, yet relieved that he would not author any more terror personally. I think of “live by the sword, die by the sword…” and struggle with desiring justice and mercy. Well crafted response, Andy. Thanks very much.

  2. Gen 9:5-6 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. 6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
    Rom 13: 3-4 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

  3. I love this blog entry… Just yesterday I posted as FB status this update:
    “Yup, Osama may be dead. People rejoice because an enemy is down. But so long as SIN prevails in people’s lives, there exists an enemy still. *a take on people’s responses*”
    sir andy, like you, I was saddened w most Christian’s response to Osama’s death…
    Thanks for the insight!

  4. I agree w/ 90% of what you write. I too am saddened by what seems to be self-righteous joy at the death of our enemy.
    But when you ask the question, “How can God bless America when the killing of a killer is issued?” you confuse or ignore scripture’s teaching on the role of government. Paul is clear on this in Romans 13. If I am a Christian AND the president or any other national leader I am compelled to love my enemies and “wield the sword against evil.” That means I must seek to use my power to protect citizens and promote justice. This is a difficult line to walk but to oversimplify the responsibility of a national leader solely to the context of “loving an enemy” may be convienent but it certainly is not thoroughly biblical. You can be a discple of Jesus AND love your enemy, AND if you are placed in a position of govermental leadership protect your citizens in a way that honors the Lord Jesus.
    This is incredibly difficult which is why Paul immediately follwed up his teaching with the command that we pray for those in authority!

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s