Just as the buzz on the royal wedding has calmed down the media has been sent another massive story to take over the air ways. Bin Ladin is dead!
As I read the news during one of Grace’s night feedings I couldn’t help but be filled with mixed feelings. As I read through my Twitter feed those feelings became even more uneasy when I saw the images of celebrations being held. My thoughts went instantly to the classroom. How were teachers going to address this news? They couldn’t just ignore it. Because news broke when most kids would be in bed it is likely going to be the teacher who is first to discuss the event with the children. Most parent wouldn’t have time or the instinct to do some quick education on the matter. So this leaves the teacher to fill in for those who don’t already know and clear out fact from opinion for those who woke up to the news. Most likely it would come up as early as morning prayer. “I’d like to pray in thanksgiving for the death of Bin Ladin.” I can hear the voice of a very Ernest fourth grader. (i can also hear the prayer of the teacher…”god please be by my side and help me gracefully explain these events to the children.) I can clearly remember teaching my group of ten year olds to pray for Saddam, to pray for our enemies that they may experience conversion.
I good friend posted this link on her Facebook page. It clearly sums up my feelings on the matter.
Posted on May 1, 2011 by elizabeth
I believe in justice and I’m grateful it has been served. Bin Laden is, at long last, dead.
And yet, as a Christian, is it appropriate for me to exult in the death of my enemies? Doesn’t the law of Christ command us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who persecute us?
I can rejoice in justice and be grateful for it, but I think it is dishonoring to my faith to gloat in victory, to be happy about the death of a human person. I believe there is a difference between dignified gratitude and riotous, unseemly, gleeful celebration about Bin Laden’s death–especially among Christians.
When justice is served, a Christian ought to be humbled–because in this world, justice is so rarely served.
When justice is served, a Christian gives thanks to God for its unmerited grace because, in this world, it often seems the sacrifice for justice is in vain.
But this attitude of dignified, gracious humility is a far cry from the degrading, dehumanizing comments I saw on Twitter and Facebook tonight–comments coming from my Christian brothers and sisters.
Surely it is right for a Christian to rejoice in justice, but it’s important to remind ourselves that even God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked:
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather than he should turn from his way and live? Ezekiel 18:23 (ESV)
The ultimate finality of the human life is death and as Christians, I believe we ought never take pleasure in the death of another human–even our enemies.
Yes, we are relieved. Yes, we are grateful for the heroic and courageous efforts of our fine military. Yes, we are grateful that justice is served. And yes, as my 10 year old son–who for all his life has only known a country at war–shouts YAY!
But even in this moment of victory, my hope is that we Christians demonstrate to the world the chief law that guides us: loving the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves.
Even when our neighbor hates us.