Last night my wife and I were watching a movie in our living room. We finished about 10 o'clock and were just about to head to bed when she checked her Facebook one quick time. She read this post in her news feed:
"Burn in hell, Bin Laden."
We were both curious about this post. Was this person just having a bad day and blaming the worst terrorist mastermind of our generation? Or did something happen? We quickly turned on the news to see the news banner across the bottom of hte screen:
PRESIDENT OBAMA CONFIRMS OSAMA BIN LADEN HAS BEEN KILLED.
We watched as crowds gathered in front of the White House, clapping, singing and waving flags in the celebration of the death of this horrible man. I hit rewind on the DVR to see how the news unfolded--the first official announcement from White House press reporters. We watched as President Obama told us about the operation.
"One less piece of evil in this world" I posted on facebook and Twitter. And that sparked a conversation. Are we supposed to rejoice at the death of a terrorist? Or, in the much-cliche'd phrase, "what would Jesus do?"
"Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice..."
--Proverbs 24:17 (NIV)
But that's not easy to do, is it? I mean, we are so human after all (sorry, shameless plug for my album.) It is very human to rejoice when a bad person is defeated. We want to see our enemies vanquished. We tell ourselves that it's okay because good conquered evil. Never mind the fact that the Bible tells us NONE of us is "good." So are we supposed to celebrate the death of this horrible man? It's not an easy question to answer. I believe God is happy that Osama Bin Laden will not be able to carry out any more evil acts on His people. But we can also presume that God wept last night. If Osama Bin Laden indeed died without having known Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, then God found no pleasure in that.
"...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..."
--Ezekiel 33:11 (NIV)
I'll be honest. That's not me. Not right now. Yes, I think it's sad that a human being died, presumably not knowing his Creator, but I'm glad that our country dealt an incredibly painful blow to Al Qaeda. I'm glad Bin Laden won't be able to plot against us anymore. (Though I'm not naive enough to believe this ends our war on terror.) And I'm proud of the men and women serving in our military to fight against their injustice.
Yes, there is reason to rejoice. But there is also reason to weep. It's never a good thing when someone is sentenced to eternal suffering...if, as some have recently suggested, that even really exists. (But that's another topic altogether.)