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How should Christians react to the death of Osama Bin Laden?

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The President doing a news conference after midnight is a big deal. When I heard about it, my first thoughts were what new threat are we facing, or what devastation has happened.   Then, news organizations began to report the death of Osama Bin Laden.

I still remember vividly the morning of September 11th, 2001, as I’m sure most people do.  Sitting in a classroom studying film for an upcoming football game is what I was doing.  Suddenly, someone came in and said there had been a plane crash into a tall building in New York City.  The first announcement seemed tragic, but not evil.  It came off to me like any plane crash.  However, when the second plane hit the news channel was turned on, and we began to realize that this was not some accident, but a dileberate attack on our countrymen.

As a Christian, my citizenship is in heaven and my true countrymen are those who have been united together by the blood of Christ.  However, I was also born in the United States of America.  I have submitted myself to this government.  I have enjoyed and been blessed by the blessings of this country. I have a camraderie of customs, language, and culture with all her people.  So when I realized this was a purposeful attack upon my countrymen, by a foreign enemy, I was hurt and angry.

Last night, I heard the news that the man behind the killing of those Americans and others (Pentagon, Flight 93, and other bombings) was dead.  Killed by American Navy Seals in a compound in Pakistan.  The President confirmed as much. Today’s news cycle has been dominated by the story.

However, I struggled with how I should feel.  I really do.  Should I be happy, joyful.  Or should I be saddened.  As is my usual demeanor (which drives my wife crazy btw), I didn’t show a lot of emotion last night.  However, inwardly I was torn.

After sleeping on it, and thinking through different Scriptures this morning, I have confirmed why I have this uneasiness and maybe have a better understanding on how, I, as  a Christian, should feel about all of this.

First, there is a definite thread in the body of people rejoicing over justice.  Specifically, the justice that occurs when evil men die.  Proverbs states how people rejoice when the wicked perish.  The Psalms speak of singing praises to God “when He avenges.”  Vengeance and Justice are not sinful things.  The fact that  a man died because of his evil actions is not wrong.  God has given government to carry out that very task.   So there is joy when justice is served.

Second, Ezekiel clearly states that God does not delight in the death of the evil person.  God’s goal is that all people come to repentance. He does not want to see any perish.  As Christians we have this same prospective, we desire (and like God work to accomplish) the salvation of man.  Thus, whenever men die we have a certain sadness knowing that they die apart from the love of God.

So this morning I rejoice that God brought Osama Bin Laden to justice.  He used his arm on this earth (the government) to wield the sword.  I am also saddened that Osama Bin Laden never turned from his wickedness.

What a waste of a life made in the image of God.

Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted. (Psalm 9:11-12)

“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11).

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