Nearly twenty-four hours ago we were notified of the death of Osama bin Laden. Last night I watched the broadcast of the President’s speech and my initial reaction was a sense of relief, or “Finally”. I didn’t have political or religious feelings on the matter, just a sense of completion.
Today I have heard political arguments over why or why not which people should get or should not get what credit. I have heard and read many thoughts of thanks to our military. I have heard many reports of young people, those whose age was in the single digits on 9/11, celebrating like it was the millennium New Year. And to my sorrow, I have read comments from religious individuals that were very aggressive in reference to bin Laden and his final destination. Some included cussing that I never envisioned from certain individuals. I have even heard them parse their feelings and comments between patriotism and religion as if the compartmentalizing of the statements would leave no impact upon their Christian testimony.
The politicization of the subject is not at all surprising. In fact, it is unfortunately expected. For professing Christians to “let their hair down” as it were, and openly rejoice and celebrate over the death of a person is something that I find a bit disturbing. The outward expression is a reflection of what is in the heart. Perhaps we need to pause, repent and pray.
I am not proclaiming my own innocence in such matters. I am a sinner saved by grace just as any person who places their full trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the redemption of our souls. As I said, I had a sense of completion and satisfaction. Where is the line that gets crossed from happiness for a job completed to the overt rejoicing over the death of an enemy? I believe that the answer is somewhat individual to each person as we each explore our motives before God.
The death of any person is a serious matter before God and so it should be for us. I believe that the eternal destination of bin Laden should be a matter of disturbance to the Christian, not a celebration, assuming there was no conversion to Christianity prior to his death. This event is an opportunity for the peacemaker within us to shine, or at the very least, to not get caught up in the hoopla. It would be all too easy to alienate those around us. I am not saying that we should not discuss the matter. However, a certain amount of restraint may be the better part of wisdom.