Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflections on the Demise of an Evil Man

Disclaimer: This post is an invitation to read my opinions of the events of the last week. I do not desire or expect that you agree with everything or anything I write here. These are my thoughts, and while I believe that they are supported by the Word of God, I understand that they vary greatly from the majority of the American public.

Sometimes, it takes me several days to process events, especially ones that demand a moral and/or political opinion from me. The death of Osama bin Laden definitely demands both. I found out about bin Laden's death on the fastest news source on the internet--Facebook. I was immediately struck by the nature of the celebration of this American victory including praises to presidents past and present, worship of our military, swear words, and derogatory remarks against an entire race . . . almost all followed by the words, "God bless America!"

With a burdened heart, I turned off Facebook for the night, and began my processing. At first, my only thoughts and feelings were that I knew I could not in any way celebrate the fact that a man is now in hell, and is suffering the wrath of God. Taking part in that celebration feels altogether wrong. I went to sleep that night troubled for the state of the spirit of our country, a spirit that doesn't seem too far away from being able to burn the flags or perform other acts of hate against the people we call our enemies.

It is only appropriate that I acknowledge my understanding of the fact that this is a strategic U.S. military victory. I understand that the hunting down and killing of Osama bin Laden has been the objective of every American soldier since 9/11. I also understand that as the number one military power in the world, that it had to be done in order to keep that status. I understand that the world would have thought us weak and apathetic had we failed to act after such a terrible and unexpected attack. (As an aside, let me say here that I believe that giving anyone--President, military or soldier--sole credit for the death of bin Laden is ridiculous. The Lord, in His wisdom, allowed this to happen. He alone is deserving of humble gratitude.) However, as I acknowledge these facts, I must also acknowledge that my foremost loyalties do not lie with a worldly government--not even the American government--but with the government of my true King. My thought processes do not center around U.S. objectives, but around the objectives of Jesus Christ, which at this time, are not about justice, but about mercy. I believe that the teachings of Jesus Christ make the mindless celebration of this man's death "spiritually inappropriate and politically naive." [Quote borrowed from a friend's Facebook status.]

The Bible is full of teachings about the spiritually appropriate way of viewing our enemies:

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him."--Proverbs 24:17-18

"You have heard that is was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy'. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."--Matthew 5:43-45

"Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "And not that he should turn from his ways and live?"--Ezekial 18:23-24

One soldier on Facebook stated that justice is the business of governments, and that it has been served, but I believe that justice is the business of an Almighty God, and He alone reserves the authority to serve it. When He chooses to execute justice, we should be grateful that He is keeping His promises, but it is obvious that we should not be glad. The Lord isn't only concerned about serving justice to "the wicked." He is also concerned with the state of the hearts of His people. Hate has no place in His children, and hate is the only driving force behind the celebration of a soul lost forever.

Furthermore, it is truly politically naive to believe that because bin Laden is dead that the war on terror is over or that the thousands of lives lost have been vindicated. Have the people who died in 9/11 returned to their loved ones? Are my friends who have lost their lives in this war with us again? No . . . . no. Do we really think that Osama was the mastermind behind his acts of terror? Please! Osama was a tool of the real Evil One--Satan--and believe me, Satan has many willing tools with which he will unleash his terror on the world. Many others are waiting in bin Laden's empty place. Just because my children will not grow up in a world where Osama bin Laden is alive and well does not mean that they will grow up in a world free from the reign of terror or in an age where death has been validated by more death. Death has no validation, and only the death of Jesus Christ is able to save us. Human death is the ultimate reminder that sin still rules the world. Until the Lord comes to rescue us, terror will be a reality we will face every single day.

"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."--1 Peter 5:8-9

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."--Ephesians 6:12-13

These scriptures make it sound as if we ourselves are in the same danger Osama bin Laden has been in for his entire life. We all suffer from his disease--sin--and without the daily filling of the Holy Spirit, we will, like him, become tools of the devil. Christians, we must do better! We must remain pure in heart, filling the world with the Light of Christ, and not with the anger and hatred of the devil! I am grateful that Osama bin Laden is no longer able to do evil in this world, and I gratefully accept the Lord's decision to take him out of the equation, but let us not forget that the battle wages on. Let us grieve, mourn and repent of our pride, seek the face of our Heavenly Father, and adjust our thoughts and attitudes to reflect His own.

Let us do better, Christian.

5 comments:

Jarrod said...

Since you've been thinking about this I thought you'd want to see this article. I have not done much thinking about it other than reading this: http://biblicalhorizons.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/thoughts-on-the-death-of-bin-laden/

Jarrod said...

the link is potent and strong. Hard to swallow in spots. ;) jarrod

MelissaKeaster said...

Hi Jarrod, I read the link, and it feels wrong to me in many places. I don't normally follow feelings, but I've sincerely prayed about this topic, asking God to help me submit my feelings to His way. It is right to celebrate triumphs over evil, but of course we know that the only thing/person worth boasting in is the person of Jesus Christ. The fundamental disagreement here stems from a disagreement on the biblical age we are in. I believe we are still in a period of time in which Christ is offering mercy, and that sometime soon that time will end, and justice will prevail. This is why the blog feels wrong to me, I think.

Emilea said...

Wonderful post Melissa...my husband and I were talking Monday about this. We are indeed grateful that Osama bin Laden can no longer do harm to anyone, but it seems terribly wrong to celebrate. Thank you for sharing!

Brendan, Jaalisa, and Brayden Banks said...

so eloquent, so thoughtful, so what a true christian response should be. I have to admit I said some things that I should have either not said, or thought about more before I said them. If only we would all take time to think and pray before we start blabbing our mouths.. Thank you for reminding me what this REALLY was about.