Monday, May 2, 2011

Christians and Osama Bin Laden (UPDATED)

Okay, so this will be somewhat brief...I will link to some additional resources below that I think will be helpful and for further reading.

I have had several request my thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden.

I found myself having some very mixed emotions last night, to be real honest.

On one hand, I was thrilled! I mean, a mastermind who was dead set on killing as many as possible was gone?!?! That, to me, was a really good thing.

On the other hand, I was grieved. How could I be happy that someone is dead? Especially someone who is (more than likely) in hell and will stay there being tortured throughout eternity?

Then I checked Twitter. Oh my.

First I read people rejoicing. Then I read others who were rebuking those for rejoicing. Then I read where people were sharing the same mixture of feelings that I had. Then I read Bible verses that countered others who had posted Bible verses. Yikes....made me glad I don't have a Facebook account!!!!

So how should Christians think about this deal?

I read a tweet by J.D. Greear this morning that really helped me balance this thing out some. He, more or less stacked two verses on top of one another and stated (in essence) that we need to wrestle with both truths.

(UPDATE: J.D. Greear blogged some thoughts here)

The first verse he referenced was Proverbs 24:17-18 - "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him."

He also referenced Ezekiel 33:11 which says the LORD takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Amen and Amen.

But he also (this is the part that was helpful) referenced our need to rejoice in the fact that justice was shown AND weep for the loss of life (especially one doomed to hell).

God is just and demands justice. He is a LOVER of justice. Justice was served. One who was responsible for thousands of people dying (and who knows if others were being planned?) was now dead. Rejoice.

But God does not rejoice in the death of wicked. Weep.

I think the biblical response is to balance both: rejoice and weep. Rejoice on the biblical one hand and weep on the biblical other. Both are biblical, thus, both are right.

Does Paul not himself say that we believers live in that world? "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing"??? (see 2 Corinthians 6:10). It is okay to live in that tension. We need to wrestle with it and, at the end of the day, be totally biblical at all costs.

It is a reminder, seeing the people rejoice and the Americans dancing in the streets and such, of all of humanity's struggle with justice. We all want it. We all need it. We all know that if it were practiced on us from the God of the universe then we ourselves would be destroyed. In fact, we cannot understand the Gospel fully until we understand justice. We deserve far worse than Osama Bin Laden got last week from American soldiers (who, by the way, are incredible heroes!!!! Thank you troops!). We deserve to be destroyed by God Himself due to our sin against Him and cast into an eternal hell. Another man, Jesus, was killed in our place. Justice has been served! Our penalty has been another! Hallelujah.

So, at the moment, my counsel would be to wrestle with the tensions of rejoicing in justice and weeping in death.

AND, please Christians, take every opportunity to go to the justice and grace of God found at the cross of Jesus. The death of Osama Bin Laden can be a remarkable way to evangelize! May it be.

Click here to a couple of other posts (notice: I HAVEN'T READ THESE - they just seem to be very interesting and helpful - from a place I trust).

Justin Taylor has updated some links to the above link I posted earlier here.

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