The most hated and most hunted terrorist known to this young country was killed when his fortress in Pakistan was raided by an American Seal team. I’m sure that by now, you have heard and seen the details on the news channels. Even ESPN broke the news on their ticker while showing Major League Baseball highlights. It is big news.
The news channels also showed throngs of Americans in many cities rejoicing at the news of bin Laden’s death. In NYC, groups gathered at Ground Zero in the middle of the night to celebrate. In cities and towns all across this country, Americans gathered to rejoice that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was dead. As I watched the coverage, I found myself jazzed and excited that the chase for bin Laden was finally over. I was glad that he finally got what he deserved for his horrendous actions. And, I felt the national pride we all share in knowing that U.S. troops tracked him down and brought him to justice.
But let me confess that those celebrations and my own emotions trouble me. Now, if my loved ones were killed at the Pentagon, or at the Twin Towers in NYC, or in a field in Shanksville, PA, I might feel and respond differently. But I can’t ignore a couple of things as I process my own feelings about the death of Osama bin Laden:
1) The book of Proverbs teaches, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.” (Proverbs 24:17). Nothing more can be added to make this more clear.
2) I wonder, if in this Christian nation, we might celebrate just as much if the news was, instead of his death, that bin Laden had repented, surrendered his life to Christ, become a follower of Jesus Christ, and turned himself in to pay for his crimes? Would we celebrate and rejoice and would spontaneous singing of ‘Amazing Grace’ reverberate in stadiums and subway cars around this country?
I am happy that Osama bin Laden can no longer terrorize anyone. And, probably soon, someone will step up to take his place as the world’s leading terrorist. But I do not wish to celebrate his death. I can only rejoice in the bravery, the perseverance, and the commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. I am in awe of, and thankful for, your service! And the celebration will be even greater when we can bring you home!
How do you feel about the death of Osama bin Laden?