Joy? Osama Bin Laden?

I have been deeply troubled by many responses from Christians, people who love and serve Jesus, about the death of Osama Bin Laden. My heart grieves over the comments, statements, and "celebrations" that are so contrary to the Gospel we all cling to.

While celebrating over the death of Osama Bin Laden might seem and feel like the right thing to do, as Christians who love Jesus, we are called to something greater.

"Truth be told, Osama Bin Laden deserves death and eternal damnation, as do you and I.

We are more murderous and hateful like Bin Laden than we are holy and perfect like God (Matthew 5:21-22). We are all guilty of treason against God and our neighbor, and because of the work of Jesus on the cross, God has mercy on the evildoers that repent, including ourselves.

We are called to love our enemy by Jesus himself. (Matthew 5:43-46). Because we fail to do this on a regular basis, and with Osama Bin Laden, we need to repent. And when we repent, God is merciful and gracious to forgive us. We should be thankful that God died a murderer's death in our place."

As a pastor we love says, "Are you looking for vengeance or justice? They are not the same thing and can be easily confused. The difference is seen at the heart level and vengeance is contrary to the Gospel. The appropriate Christian response lives in the tension of Proverbs 11:10 and Proverbs 24:17.

Proverbs 11:10 - When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
Proverbs 24:17 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, & let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.

These verses elicit mixed emotions: the joy of justice enacted and the sorrow at the reality of destruction. The relief that accompanies the news of Osama's death should be without vengeance (Deut. 32:35), yet tempered with regret at the death of any image-bearer of God."

We are called to be like Jesus and to have the heart of Jesus. Jesus does not long for any to perish, but for all to inherit the kingdom of God.

Ezekiel 33:11 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.

Our response to Osama Bin Laden's death should not be one of joy.

Instead we should be thankful that God is JUST, and very thankful that God is GRACIOUS. 

So fellow Christians, brothers and sisters in Jesus, it's important to remember that ultimately, everything we say and do points people either to or away from the saving Gospel of Jesus.

(Thoughts and quotes take from Resurgence)


Julie said...

Everything we do either points people to or away...yes, how humbling.

Amen on this post, my friend.

Kristin said...

I have read many articles and posts on this topic this week and this was my favorite! So well said. Thanks for the perspective!!!

Kaleb said...

Rachel, as always, I appreciate you and Jonny's thoughtfulness and temperance in measuring all emotional responses in light of God's Word.

With that said, I think I would add a distinction to your article. I do believe it is okay to take joy, a.k.a rejoice, when the wicked perish. It is not rejoicing in an Imago Dei soul facing an eternal damnation; instead, it is a rejoicing that God has executed justice upon His earth.

It is the same sober rejoicing that the Psalmist prays 139:22-24. It is possible to have both perfect hatred of the enemies of God and perfect love for those same souls. May the judgments of God start in His house (my heart) and may they cover all the earth.

I am sorry that Osama bin Laden, God's precious creature, is dead without giving his life into the Lordship of Christ - amen. Also, praise God that Osama bin Laden, hater of Jehovah is dead - amen.