Monday, May 2, 2011

May 3, 2011

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."     II Peter 3:9

I was trying to get to bed a little earlier than usual Sunday night since it had been a long and busy day. As usual, I did a quick check of Fox News to catch up on the news of the day. There was Geraldo Rivera sharing the screen with a four-star general and they were speculating about the impending announcement coming from President Obama out of the White House. Well, needless to say, I was hooked for the next several hours.

The President's announcement was delayed and in the meantime Fox News tracked down the story and reported that Osama Bin Laden had been killed inside a secure compound in Pakistan. Wow! What an amazing development! As time passed the confirmation mounted to verify the fact that he was, indeed, dead. The President eventually did come to the podium in the White House to make the formal announcement that the Al Qaeda letter had been shot and killed by an elite force of US troops who helicoptered into his compound and hunted him down.

My intial reaction was positive. I was glad they had found him, had killed him, verified that it was OBL and that he was dead. In a world ruled by the aggressive use of force and in a world where justice is important, it was necessary to kill this terrorist mastermind. Also, I was thankful that none of our troops had been killed in the daring raid.

For the families who had lost loved ones in the Trade-Center attack, the Pentagon, United Flight 93 and for the families of all the dead and wounded troops from this military action to defeat terrorism I was happy that they had finally received a measure of justice.

But I have to admit that as I watched the celebrations from around the counrty there was something that just didn't sit quite right in my spirit. I was glad to see the American flags and was encouraged by the apparent patriotic displays of flag-waving and "USA" chants. Most of those celebrating in front of the White House were college students who had been 8 to 10 years old when the Towers were attacked. Their jubilation seemed a bit disingenuous. It just didn't ring true to me and troubled me.

This morning when I saw some family members of those lost on September 11 gathering at Ground Zero for a more somber remembrance I felt a little better. This had to bring some comfort and closure for them. I hope they can find some peace.

How should I respond as a Christian who also happens to be an American? Can I be happy that he is dead? He was evil and he deserved what he got, right? This was a big victory in the fight against terrorism, right? So, shouldn't I celebrate?

I believe I should temper my celebration with the knowledge that he died and went to a horrible eternity. While you may argue that if anyone deserves to go to Hell it is him, we should never be glad over anyone who goes there. The fact is that I also deserved to go there. But God is grieved by every single life that is lost for eternity. As His people should I not share His perspective on this death? Should I not instead renew my hatred of sin and evil? Should I rather focus on the potential for evil that exists in me rather than celebrate the death of this person?

Those are my thoughts on the day after this historic and heroic event. What say you?