Last night President Obama informed the world that we had finally found and killed Osama Bin Laden. I will admit that my first reaction was gladness that he is dead. I felt relief that our national enemy is finally defeated, and that there is nothing else he can ever do to us. There are people in Times Square shouting and rejoicing that this man is dead. I saw video footage of people singing and dancing in front of the White House, chanting “USA! USA!” and singing “naa naa naa naa, hey hey hey, goodbye!” I asked myself, is this the correct reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden?
I am currently teaching a Sunday School class on “Thinking Biblically.” It is a study regarding helping others (and myself) reshape our thinking so that we look at ethical and moral decisions through the filter of the Bible, rather than looking at the Bible through the filter of the world. I tell people that I live my life according to the Bible. I had a vague feeling that perhaps joy at Bin Laden’s death was not quite right. A friend on FB reminded me of this by quoting Ezekiel 18:23:
“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
She also quoted Proverbs 24:17-18:
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Or the LORD will see it and be displeased,
And turn His anger away from him.
You see, in God’s eyes, Osama Bin Laden was two things: 1. No more or less a sinner than any other human being (and therefore no more or less deserving of forgiveness than any of us), and 2. a person whom God loved very much and for whom Christ died on the cross. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44:
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
And Romans 12:20:
BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.
Paul was quoting Proverbs 25:21. You can look it up. I’ll wait.
You see, all we humans are in the same boat: we are sinners doomed to an eternity of punishment in hell. God knew this, and so He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty so we could be saved. All we have to do is trust in the death of Christ for forgiveness, and we are saved from Hell! In God’s eyes sin is sin, and no human is any more or less deserving of hell than anybody else. That is why God commands us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ, telling others the good news of salvation so that they too can be rescued from Hell. God’s wish from Ezekiel 24 is that we all would turn away from our sin and live eternally with him.
Our strategy here on earth is not to defeat our enemies, but to bring them over to God’s side. If we are unsuccessful, we have failed. So what is the proper view on the death of Osama Bin Laden? We lost one forever.
I am glad that he is no longer able to hurt people, and I firmly believe in protecting your family because the Bible teaches that one who does not care for his own family is worse than an unbeliever. Does he deserve to spend eternity in Hell for his sins? Yes. But so do we all.
“Our strategy here on earth is not to defeat our enemies, but to bring them over to God’s side. If we are unsuccessful, we have failed.”
I disagree. First – if someone is our enemy and they mean to kill us and especially to eliminate the Christian faith, we are to defend the faith – by word and deed. But that a person does not make a decision for Christ is not OUR failure. If we are called to present the good news of salvation through Christ to them and don’t do it, THAT is a failure – we have failed to obey God.
But WE are not responsible for anyone’s salvation – not even our own. That’s God’s job. Although I’m overweight, I’m not big enough to take that job or that responsibility on.
And we should also be aware that (according to news reports last night) three others died in the attack who were NOT Osama. Were they also our enemies? I’m sure we’ll be told as the press revels in the details – it’s all that’s on the TV and radio today. But three people died – perhaps they were innocents, perhaps not, but they were human beings and they are also dead and should not be just discarded as if they were yesterday’s garbage. As a nation and a people our behavior, though understandable, is not seemly.
Which brings up another point. By the celebrating of this one man’s death, have we not elevated not only his importance and status, but have we not also glorified his life and made him a figure to be emulated? By the hoopla surrounding his death, have we ignorantly set ourselves up for more attacks? Did Saddam’s death end the Iraqi war?
And those who think that killing him will change the capabilities of his “organization” do not understand how such organizations operate. They are independent cells – they don’t depend on a bloated hierarchy of leadership to function. ie they are not the Pentagon.
The Bible is very clear that there are two groups of people on earth: believers (in Christ) and unbelievers. Our goal as servants of God is to do His will here on earth. He has commanded us to witness regarding Jesus Christ and tell people the good news so that they may be saved (by Him, not us). That was what I meant about “our strategy.” If you want to look at it this way, it is a war for the souls of men, and every time a person dies without Christ, that person is lost forever. That is what I meant when I said that our strategy is to bring them over to God’s side.
I believe you are correct that when someone rejects Christ it is not our fault. It was not my intent to convey that message. Perhaps I should have been more clear that each person’s eternal destiny is ultimately between them and God. I was simply expressing sadness at each person who dies and goes to Hell.
I would disagree with your statement that we are not responsible for our own salvation. I believe God calls us to salvation, and I believe that we are responsible for trusting in Christ, making that decision. I don’t believe there will be anybody in heaven that God forced to be there against their will.
As I said earlier today on a different forum, I don’t think his death is going to change anything. The radical Muslim terrorists that wanted to kill us before his death are still going to try to kill us after his death. So no, the war is not over. The only thing that has changed is that a different head of the Hydra is planning the attacks.