Monday, May 2, 2011

Ding-Dong, The Witch Is Dead?

People say there are a few moments in history where you will never forget where you were when you heard the news.  I've heard Pearl Harbor and JFK's assassination listed as two.  Still a third is September 11, 2001.

I still remember that infamous day in 2001 clearly.

I was a sophomore in high school.  I had made it to school that morning without hearing the news.  Before the first bell, one of my friends came running through the school hallways exclaiming, "we're going to war! they attacked New York City!"

He was excited.  As though war was like it was in the movies: Private Ryan always gets found and delivered home.  And yet, it was a strange day, nonetheless.

9/11, as it has conveniently been labeled in remembrance of the first responders who lost their lives running into a collapsing building, unfolded with the emergence of terrorist activities being taught in history books starting the next year.  It was like the light went on for America: that there were people out there who did not like "us."

And now, Osama bin Laden, the poster child for terror inflicted on America over the last ten years, was killed yesterday.  Initially, I, like many others rejoiced that perhaps some Americans could sleep a little easier that night knowing our country had one less person threatening it.  But as I have reflected on the events of Easter, and what happens when religious extremists are killed, I can't help but slow myself down from joining the parade of glee over bin Laden's death.  Do not read that as me comparing Jesus to bin Laden; I was just intrigued by the rejoicing our country is doing right now, and how it must have been similar in Jerusalem among the Romans when Jesus was crucified: indeed, perhaps the Romans would have said, "finally, we can sleep a bit easier knowing there is one less religious lunatic out there threatening our perfect world."

God grieves when an unsaved person enters eternity separated from the Love of God.  Ezekial 33:11 says, "Say to them, ‘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. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’" And if I am to be more like God and align my heart with his perfect heart and will, then I ought to grieve too: not just for bin Laden, but for the 88 year old grandfather who passed from natural causes who was also was not saved, and also for the 10 year old killed by a drunk driver who never got to go to youth group to hear the good news.

If anything, bin Laden's death gives me an increased sense of urgency to reach and save the lost.

And so while people all over the world are celebrating as though the Wicked Witch of the West is dead, singing songs of jubilee, I am going to grieve those who I could have reached with the Gospel, but instead have entered eternity apart from God.  Because nobody is too far from the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, that even this evil of a man was untouchable by the never failing love of God.  If you don't believe me, talk to my friend, the Apostle Paul.

4 comments:

  1. I know you said that your not comparing Bin Laden to Jesus ….. but then you went right along and compared Bin Laden to Jesus. The brutal murder of an innocent man who's sham of a trial caused the presiding officer to wash his hands of the guilt that the Roman government incurred is, I’d say, a little different from the justice slaying of a mass murderer who devoted the last 20 years of his life to the senseless slaying of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, regardless of race, religion, gender, etc.

    Usama Bin Laden was an evil man, in every sense of the word. He personally financed, and provided leadership to, a movement that has spread like gangrene across the middle east, one which promotes the senseless murder of civilians in order to inspire terror. The killings haven't been just American’s, he murdered his own people as well; men, women, children, young old.... anyone.

    God delights in Justice, in fact in Isaiah 61:8 he says "For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong." I'd be willing to add murder, and terrorism to that list as well. Jesus did take the payment for our sins on the cross, and his death did provide justice for our sins. That being said, God does enact justice on the earth. He is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, but his arm is by no means short, and his wrath is by no means limited, except by his will to forgo that wrath to lead people to repentance. When Justice is served, God is glorified. The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a JUST act. Therefore, I believe God is glorified. In that enacting of Justice, I praise God that we are now safer, and that the lives of thousands of soldiers from a variety of countries have not been spent in vain.

    Here at SPU, there are many “pious” Christians here who are denouncing any kind of celebration because of a few out of context bible verses. I am sure that they would feel differently if they were at ground zero, or if they had lost their husband/wife in the world trade center bombings, or if one of their family members was currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I do no delight in the death of a person, no less in the death of a wicked person, because we are all made in God’s image and likeness. I never the less rejoice with my fellow American’s that justice has been served, the men and women who died in the WTC have been validated, and that our armed forces have not fought in vain.

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  2. I don't believe that Christians should fully reject the idea of celebrating a moment like this. I do however believe that discernment needs to be employed. If we are found to be rejoicing over the loss of any sinner, we may be charged with being unloving. If we take a harsh position against rejoicing over the downfall of one of the worlds most infamous characters, we may be considered unjust. I say be in the middle. Rejoice over his removal and remorse over his destiny. This position better encapsulates the will of our God who is both just and loving. And let us not miss the bigger point of the scenario. God is just against all sinners who reject His Son, not just radical Islamic fundamentalists. With this being said, I agree with Dan in that we need to be diligent in sharing the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

    Phil

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  3. I don't believe that Christians should fully reject the idea of celebrating a moment like this. I do however believe that discernment needs to be employed. If we are found to be rejoicing over the loss of any sinner, we may be charged with being unloving. If we take a harsh position against rejoicing over the downfall of one of the worlds most infamous characters, we may be considered unjust. I say be in the middle. Rejoice over his removal and remorse over his destiny. This position better encapsulates the will of our God who is both just and loving. And let us not miss the bigger point of the scenario. God is just against all sinners who reject His Son, not just radical Islamic fundamentalists. With this being said, I agree with Dan in that we need to be diligent in sharing the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

    Phil

    ReplyDelete