Okay, let me start this post by restating that I rarely (almost never) write about political issues. This doesn't mean that I'm ignorant of them or that they are disinteresting to me. I just realize that some of my opinions are probably unpopular, and I have a strict policy of only fighting over hills I'm willing to die for...
...Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, my issue is disappointment over the reaction to Osama bin Laden's death. One television commentator suggested that instead of burying him at sea we should have "put this guy in a meat grinder with a pig." Another stated that "hell is certainly much hotter tonight." I saw televised celebrations in the streets that looked eerily similar to the ones in the Middle East when the twin towers fell.
Let me unpack my opinions. Osama bin Laden was a murderer and a terrorist who should have been brought to justice. His demise will cost lives in retaliation, but will save exponentially more. Was this event a political ploy by the President? Probably so. But before we take shots at the President, do you know any other politicians who would not have made the same call if given the same opportunity?
What I find discouraging is the reactions I have seen from some Christians.
Paul Brandeis Raushernbush with the Huffington Post wrote, "Osama bin Laden has exemplified the absolute worst of religion. He was a zealot in his own belief and willing to kill those who believed differently; he recruited young people into his ranks by preying on their despair; and he carried out violence in the name of God. Osama bin Laden profaned the name of God and denigrated all people of faith."
I definitely believe bin Laden was evil. But I fear some Christians have forgotten that evil doesn't have a face. And I fear that in our joy at justice being done, some have become what we despise...angry zealots who preach a love for God and practice hate toward the ones he created in His image.
Please remember that the cornerstone of the Christian faith is mercy. And remember that although hell is a real place, if we proclaim to be a people who are dedicated to rescuing souls from hell, we should never take joy in the idea that someone might be destined for it.
What happened this past weekend was earthly justice being served. However, eternal justice is far over our pay grade. As Christians, we should be happy to allow God to be "God," and even happier that we are not gods.
I hope we will always remember that we are sinners saved by a merciful God, that love never rejoices in unrighteousness but rejoices in truth, that life is precious to God and His Son died for everyone (even bin Laden), and that hell is the ultimate in maximum torture and despair...therefore it's the same temperature this week as it was the last.
You have heard that it was said, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48)