As I learned the news of Bin Laden's death 10 years later this morning, I've seen a variety of responses on facebook, in the news, and other media sources. Some seemed relieved, vindicated, somber, thankful, patriotic, while others seemed jubilant, arrogant, prideful, full of gloating and revelry. The latter being not much different from some (certainly not all) Muslims we see on TV getting worked up into a riotous frenzy against Americans routinely as they burn our flags, Bibles, and images of our leaders, which got me to thinking.
How should we as Christians respond to the news that our enemy, Osama Bin Laden is dead? As always, we need to go to Scripture for our answer.
Proverbs 24:17-18 (ESV)Sounds pretty plain to me!
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away His anger from him.
While pondering this news and our proper response, a couple of Biblical examples come to mind. I think of King David in the Old Testament when he received the news that King Saul, who had hunted David like a dog and attempted to kill David for years, was dead.
2 Samuel 1:11-12 (ESV) Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.Now I certainly realize this passage describes a different event, in a different context, and Saul was much different than Bin Laden, and that there's really little or no comparison between the two. They definitely are not parallel events, but I think it gives us a glimpse of David's response (or lack of celebration) being in line with the Proverb quoted above, and we can learn from David here.
I was also thinking of King David's response when Absalom, his wayward and rebellious son, who also had David on the run and attempted to kill David and take his kingdom from him, was reported to be dead.
Again, I admit there's no real comparison with this event and the one at hand, but David's response (and lack of celebration) to the death of another of his "enemies" is the thing that strikes me. In both of these passages, the messengers of the news of the death of his enemies were expecting him to be jubilant, ecstatic, and ready for a celebration.2 Samuel 18:33 (ESV) And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept...
However, David's actual response was drastically different. Isn't that the way of the Christian life? On many levels, in various situations, and at different times, our response should be different than that of the world. God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise, paraphrasing the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians.
Many Americans were anxious and impatient as they awaited justice to be served to Bin Laden over the last 10 years or so, and understandably so, especially for those more closely affected with family members killed during the attacks, or family and friends killed or injured during and after the events, but we do well to remember the Lord's words:
Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’I believe Scripture teaches consistently (see Romans Chapter 13, and 1 Peter Chapter 2 for two examples) that Government, Military, etc. are tools used by God to accomplish His purposes many times, and I'm thankful for ours (yes, even under the current administration with which I disagree on many issues), and I commend our U.S. Government and U.S. Military Servicemen, as they carried out their mission, being used by God to accomplish His purposes.
But let us always be careful to remember our Lord Jesus Christ's Words in Luke 13:3 (ESV)
...I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.I invite you to leave comments below for further discussion.