May 1, 2011

I imagine, as was true on 9/11, I will always remember where I was when I found out that Osama Bin Laden was killed. I must tell you that at the first I was swept up in such jubilation. Such nationalism. After all, Osama Bin Laden, the man who orchestrated  the most vicious attack against this nation. I was relieved. My annoyance that Celebrity Apprentice was being preempted by "some speech from the President" was quickly swallowed by pride. Pride in my President. Pride in the military folks who executed the plan to kill Osama. Pride in my fellow Americans. It is in times like these--times of great national jubilation--that it is good to gain perspective from scripture. My carnal self jumps within. My carnal self says, "Hell yes! Osama is dead!" I am happy when justice flows like a mighty river. I am happy when the cries of those innocents seemingly is answered. But, deep within me there is this nagging questions that begs an answer: "Jesus, what do you guys think?" I find myself asking the question, "Am I capitulating--during this time of nationalism--to situational ethics? 

In searching our souls, it is good to also search scripture.

Proverbs 24:17 warns me, in this time, "Don't rejoice when your enemies [Osama] fall; don't be happy when they stumble."

Ezekiel 18:32 tells me "I don't want you to die, says the Sovereign LORD. Turn back and live!"

Then again in Ezekiel 33:11 I read, "As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?"

I then read in Isaiah 55:7, "Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously."

Exodus 33:19 then brings it home for me, as I read, "The LORD replied, "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose."

As I read each of these scriptures, some of the excitement of my carnal flesh is brought into reality. I am checked that I am not God. I am not judge; God is. Though I am convinced that justice demanded this outcome, I should not rejoice. Though decency demanded that Osama Bin Laden--the perpetrator of these atrocities--had to give an account here on earth for his crimes and dastardly actions, I need not rejoice nor gloat. I need only to say, thank you Jesus, that for the likes of Bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin and Ray McKinnon you hung on that cursed cross. For the likes of me, you declared it finished.

May I live into the reflection of my savior. May I never get caught up in nationalism to the detriment of my allegiance to the call of Christ.

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Lary Nine said...

Good POV. Any circumspect Christian or ethical atheist will think twice about the nature of retributive justice. In fact, I thought of this very proverb myself.

"Proverbs 24:17 warns me, in this time, "Don't rejoice when your enemies [Osama] fall; don't be happy when they stumble.""

Julie said...

You bring tears to my eyes. Since the moment it was announced, I was struck by how out of place the jubilation felt to me. There is a part of me that completely understands the concept of bringing a criminal to justice. However, I can never rejoice that anyone has died, apparently without a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I am possibly one of the biggest flag wavers that I know. Things such as the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance can easily bring tears to my eyes. However, in this occasion, as proud as I am at the skill and the bravery of our men and women in uniform, I cannot express exuberance at the announcement any man's death. So, for today, I am reflective. And I must always trust that God is on the throne and He is completely in control of this situation!

Ray McKinnon said...

Lary and Julie, I appreciate your comments. Thank you both. Shalom.

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