Last night I was sitting at our living room table with Alejandro and some friends playing a board game when Matt announced that Osama bin Laden was dead. It took me a split second to recall why that name sounded so familiar. (Remember I live in a hole?) But then I was pretty stunned about it after so long. I think this will be one of those historical events that we all remember where we were when we heard the news. Like when Princess Diana died. Like when I heard about the attack on 9/11.
Since last night I've been reading people's reactions (mostly on Twitter and Facebook) and I'm struck by a few major things that are being said and done.
First, I keep hearing, "justice has been done."
What?! No it has not! Justice has not been done. One life for the lives of thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS is NOT JUSTICE. One life for the shaking of the security of a nation and families ripped apart and historical landmarks destroyed and a painful mark on our history forever is NOT JUSTICE. And frankly, whatever "justice" would be, I don't want it. Because if justice is an eye for an eye, the horrific things that would have to happen to call it "even" are unimaginable and I want nothing to do with it.
Justice has NOT been done.
Alright, second, Osama bin Laden's death has been celebrated in the streets.
What should be celebrated is the elimination of one (and only one) strong force for terrorism on this earth. There is a time for all things, and I certainly believe that the searching-out and elimination of this political power was right, good and very appropriate. I trust that our military forces made a good call in deciding to hunt and kill, rather than capture, bin Laden. Please know I have been behind the war on terrorism from the very beginning.
(A little tiny part of me--ok a big part of me--wants to shout "Neener-neener!!" to all those people who were against this war in the first place and who have whined about it since the sting of 9/11 wore off and who are now undoubtedly glad that bin Laden has been removed from power despite the fact that they thought the forces who took bin Laden out shouldn't have been there in the first place. Ahem. Where was I? Oh, right.)
However, despite my strong support of this war on terrorism, I will NOT celebrate the death of any man. Osama bin Laden was (perhaps one of the most, but still only) an extremely misguided, lost and hurting man. I think the Vatican put it well in saying, "Bin Laden will have to answer to God for having killed many people, exploited religion to spread hate," and then, "Christians 'do not rejoice' over a death." (According to @BreakingNews on Twitter.)
We ALL will answer to God for what we've done. No man is innocent. Romans 3:23 says, "for everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." We ALL are destined to hell and are saved only by the grace of Jesus Christ. I'll say it again: May I never be caught celebrating the death of another man.
Another friend of mine said (and this perfectly ties in my next point), "I can think of only one death that brought the world peace...and we celebrated that a week ago."
President Obama said at the Medal of Honor ceremony, "The world is a safer place because of the death of Osama bin Laden," (also according to @BreakingNews). There is partial truth in that, but here's the thing...
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world. Eph 6:12A pastor at my church said, "The reason we fear no evil isn't because a bad man is gone but because a good God is here." Our President mistakenly believes that we are safe because of something we can do as humans.
So there you have it. My three reactions to the death of Osama bin Laden: (1) Justice has not been done, praise Jesus. (2) I am safe because of a good God, not because of the fall of any man. And (3) the only death I'll celebrate is the one we celebrated last week. And He's not dead anymore.