Osama is Dead: Rejoice or Remorse?

May 3, 2011

All day yesterday I was trying to figure out what I thought about the death of Osama bin Laden, the evil mastermind behind the attacks on our country on September 11th.  My heart and my mind kept battling back and forth between pride in our nation and sadness that this man probably did not come to trust in Jesus Christ as his Savior and is, therefore, suffering eternally apart from God.

As I tried to navigate my own feelings I was appalled at the facebook status updates I was reading from some of my friends–the attitude of vindication, the “USA” chants, and the seemingly complete lack of understanding that, as one sister who I respect so much put it, “Sadly, he is . . .  a man separated from God forever in hell. That is a reality not worth rejoicing over.”  How true!  How can we, as believers, rejoice that anyone–even one of the most twisted leaders of our time–is apart from our Lord?  However, his death, because it happened, was God’s will.  It was also God’s will that almost ten years ago our leaders saw fit to go after bin Laden in war.  In addition, he was an evil man–one who had and would continue to send many more souls into eternity.  I was thankful that moments later, at the thought that bin Laden cannot murder anymore, that same sister posted, “Praise God that there is one less mass murderer on earth.”  What balance she had found.  Anyway, there seemed to be, from many Christian friends I greatly admire, no remorse at all regarding bin Laden’s eternal state.

On the other hand, from some friends, there seemed to be heart-break at his death, with no feeling of satisfaction of justice served.  Proverbs 24:17 was a popular scripture yesterday: “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice; when he stumbles do not let your heart exult.”  Also, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s powerful quote was one that is still circulating cyberspace, “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.  Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.  Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”  While that is a lovely quote, it doesn’t speak to the fact that a government has a God-given responsibility to the protection of its citizens–it implies that we shouldn’t have gone after bin Laden in the first place.

It’s all very confusing and it seems as if I’m not the only one that couldn’t figure out her emotions yesterday.  Enter Pastor John Piper.  Yesterday he wrote a blog post titled, “Is God Glad Osama Bin Laden’s Dead?”  It is not extensive and it does not cover every single Bible verse that speaks to vengeance, forgiveness, justice, or love.  However, it does speak to God’s complex emotions–even more complex than my own–and I highly recommend you read it.

And so there you have it.  Balance.  Doesn’t it often seem to come back to finding balance?  Yes: We should not rejoice in the death of the wicked.  Anyone being separated from God for eternity is not something to rejoice in.  But also, Yes: Osama bin Laden was an evil man, who would probably have continued being evil, and it was God’s will that his chance to trust the one true God would end and that he would enter eternity last week–a reality we will all face.

Which can lead me nowhere but to this: Are you ready for eternity?  The Bible says to spend eternity in Heaven you must trust that Jesus was sent to Earth to die for your sins.  Do you believe that?

Genesis gives us the account of how God created the heavens and the earth and everything else including you and me.  Psalm 100:3 says, “Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”  Because God made us we are under His command.  We have a responsibility to do what He asks of us.

The Bible is very clear as to how we should live, but regardless of how good you or I think we are, we cannot reach God’s standard.  Romans 3:23 tells us that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  You know it’s true.  Every time you get angry or jealous, you sin against a holy God.  Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.”  That means that when we sin–when we disobey a perfect and holy God, our punishment should be death–eternal separation from God in Hell.  We deserve death based on our sinfulness.

BUT!  Read the second part of Romans 6:23!  It says, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  God sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  Jesus, perfect and without sin, was the only human able to satisfy God’s wrath for our sins and willingly took on the punishment for them. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”  After Jesus’ death he was buried in a tomb and rose again to prove that His sacrifice was acceptable to God and that He has power over sin and death (1 Cor. 15:12-10).

So now, if you confess that you are a sinner, ask God to forgive your sins, and, like Romans 10:9-10 says, “confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation”–you will become a child of the Most High and will live in Heaven with your sweet Savior forever when you die!

To be clear, there is nothing you or I can do to satisfy God’s wrath for our sins.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  No amount of penance or good deeds will help.  There is not an account in Heaven with each of our names on it keeping a balance of the good and bad things we do.  There is only Jesus and His sacrifice–His death and His resurrection, which proved He conquered death, and His ascension into Heaven where He is our only mediator to God, the father (1 Timothy 2:5).  Trust in Him alone–God’s free gift to you–and experience the overwhelming and indescribable love of God!

I will leave you with a link to a video from John Piper, who explains this so much better than I.

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