Should Christians exult in Bin Laden's death?
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.
On a personal note, I'd like to take this moment of--as President Obama called it--"significant achievement" to thank my cousin, J.B., who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq as a captain in the US Army. You--and the entire US military--have my deepest and most sincere gratitude. Thank you. Thank you. God bless you, God bless America.