This past Sunday night the world heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been shot and killed by U.S. forces in a surprise attack on his compound. Spontaneously celebrations broke out all over America. The question I’ve been asked though is this, should followers of Jesus celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden?
Without question he was responsible for the death of thousands of Americans. He was, for many Americans, evil personified. He inflicted untold grief and loss on the citizens of this country. But should we be happy that he is dead?
Of course we know we can and should celebrate the fact that justice has been served. Justice is a big deal to our God and therefore should be to us.
Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, that you may live and possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (Deut 16:20)
Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, “Amen!” (Deut 27:19)
The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. (Ps 9:16)
Justice has been served, and for that we should be thankful. Osama Bin Laden will never again bring fear and terror, death and destruction to this world. Without question the world is better off with him gone.
But still we’re left with this question of whether it is right for us to celebrate his death. Certainly not everyone will agree with me, but the answer, I believe, is no. We should not be happy that he is dead. The reason is simple, I don’t think God is happy for Osama Bin Laden’s death.
Say to them, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?” (Ezk 33:11)
In context that verse is referring to the nation of Israel that had turned away from God, but it still reveals God’s heart to us. A heart that is, not willing that any should perish. (Mt 18)
It’s easy to point at his life and say, “He got what he deserved!” That’s true, he did, but what we are often slow to admit is that we deserved the same. We violated God’s law. We lived unrighteously and we deserve the same eternal punishment that Osama Bin Laden will experience, but the grace of God changed our eternal destiny. Justice met grace at the cross, and those who trust in Christ were pardoned from our transgressions.
Of course no one will want to say this, but does any of the responsibility for Osama Bin Laden and the many who follow after him, does any of the responsibility lie at the front door of the Church?
Did someone go to share the message of Jesus in the village or street where he grew up? If someone had, would it have made a difference? I’m not saying Bin Laden’s not responsible for his actions, he is. I’m just saying maybe instead of celebrating the fact that a man will spend eternity in Hell perhaps we would do well to contemplate what we can do to reach the next generation of Osama Bin Laden’s.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.