Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Brief Response to the death of Osama Bin Laden

I confess that I have mixed emotions. I remember very clearly the morning of September 11, 2001. I remember the outrage and the hurt. I remember the endless video of the fall of the World Trade Center. An enemy had struck at the innocent heart of America. Justice must be served. The guilty party must suffer. I remember those days as if they were yesterday.

The conflict in me arises when I consider my faith in Jesus Christ. While I do not wear a WWJD bracelet, I do often think and wonder how Jesus would have responded to the recent news. Most of us have lived long enough to realize that the world is truly a complicated place. There are no easy answers or easy solutions to problems like terrorism, war, and poverty. The problems are largely systematic; they are a symptom of a fallen world that does not function as it should. Would Jesus celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden, I would guess that he would not. Many of us would decry that justice was finally served and after all God wants justice. Really, we want justice to be served. Grace filled Christians really want justice?

We hear people say that New Orleans and Haiti got what they deserved because of the evil that exists there. Most rational people understand that this response is completely inappropriate and moronic. As if humanity knows the will of God. As if all humanity does not deserve annihilation for its deeds. Does the death of bin Laden fix or provide justice for the loss and pain that was experienced on 9/11? For me the answer is: no. Not even close. Now, the day of justice for all humanity was when Jesus carried the sins of humanity on his shoulders. Once and for all, period. That was the type of justice that God dished out. The sacrifice had been made and justice had been served and we have now been saved.

Proverbs 24:17 reminds us that the wise person does not rejoice over the fall of their enemy. Jesus in Matt 5 further states that we are to love our enemy. Paul reminds us in Rom 5 that we were enemies of God. We often forget that when Jesus went to the cross, WE were his enemies. It was not just the Pharisees, the Romans, the Jews, it was all of humanity. Jesus died for us while we were his enemies. I have heard people say that it is OK for us to dislike our enemies, but still love them. This argument is so ridiculous it is hardly worth discussing. The Greek word behind this love in Matt 5 is agape. It is a godly love. Jesus’ godly love for his enemies did not stop at toleration but moved to complete sacrifice for the ones who would openly oppose him and abandon him in his hour of need.

Now if Jesus is our master and we are his disciples, then we are trying to be like the master. Right? So now I ask you, how would Jesus respond? I think his crucifixion answers the question emphatically for us. He would forgive them. Luke 23 reports that right after Jesus had been crucified, he forgave. Jesus forgave. Wow, on his worst day Jesus is better than I will ever be. However, it is usually on our worst days that our true character is revealed.

Forgiveness is often times the missing part of agape love for humanity. We do not truly forgive. Even though we have been forgiven so much, we do not truly forgive others. However, this day I will not celebrate or revel in the death of another human being. This unfortunately is not the end of war or poverty. This is not the day when all those who are in the bondage of slavery both physical and spiritual have been set free. No, this is not that day. When that day comes, I will celebrate, because victory will finally be won over the corrupt systems and structures of this world. Order will be restored. Death will be gone forever. That is day I will celebrate.

Finally, this is a quote from a Reuters News Article (http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/05/02/idINIndia-56718720110502).

Watching the flag-waving on television in New York, Donna Marsh O'Connor, whose pregnant daughter died in the Sept. 11 attack, said she saw little reason to celebrate.

"Osama bin Laden is dead and so is my daughter," she said. "His death didn't bring her back."

There was only one death in the history of the World that would ever bring life again. That is the death of Jesus on the cross.

1 comment:

  1. You are so right on, Don. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.