Friday, May 13, 2011

Thinking about Osama Bin Laden

I’ve been thinking today about what it means to love our enemies. Osama Bin Laden has been brought to justice, and for that we can and should be glad. At the same time, Proverbs tells us explicitly (24:17) to not rejoice when our enemy falls, unless the Lord’s displeasure turn from them and onto us. The prophet Ezekiel says that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. If He does not, then neither should we.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t work for justice, or even support the execution of it by lethal force. Romans 13 says that God has appointed even secular powers for the preservation of justice, and their “sword” is His instrument. When they are acting within the principles of justice, they are doing His will. We can and should rejoice that a terrible wrong has been righted, justice has been served in the temporal realm, and the world is safer.

At the same time, a believer in Jesus can’t help in anyone’s death but think of how God has saved us from our own deserved death. Our sin made us no less deserving of eternal death (Romand 6:23), and the perfect Son of God absorbed it in our place. That means we ache for the soul of Osama bin Laden, and all of his misguided followers, praying that God will show them the same mercy He has shown to us, and plead that He, in His goodness, will bring them to the repentance and knowledge of the salvation that is in Jesus (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:1-4).

This is not meant to be a downer on what is a great day for justice. I just want you, Summit Church, to make sure you think about these things through the lens of the Gospel. Jesus said to love our enemies, and died for us when we were His enemies. Osama bin Laden’s passion was “serve God and kill.” Jesus’ passion was “serve God and die.” One took life; the other laid down His life. When we hate our enemies, we are more like Osama than we are Jesus. That’s why Paul told the Ephesians (4:32) to be kind and tenderhearted toward others for Christ’s sake, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us.

Jesus loves the Muslim world, both the peaceful and non-peaceful elements of it. Let us pray and work for their salvation as He worked for ours.

I rejoice that justice has been done. I am grateful that he as brought to account for the thousands of innocent lives he took. I criticize neither the U.S. military for taking his life nor God for sentencing his soul. Both were right. But I regret is that I did not pray for Osama more while he was alive, and even more that there are still millions of lost headed to the same fate that he is.

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