As of May 1 ,2011, Osama bin Laden has been confirmed dead in an address given by United States President Barack Obama. He was killed in an operation based on U.S. intelligence, and reports claim large crowds had formed around the White House singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “We Are the Champions,” among other things. This is a major accomplishment for President Obama’s national security team; it is a large symbolic victory; and it is an event that has been a goal of both major political parties.
But I won’t be joining the festivities, and I would discourage anyone wearing the name of Christ from celebrating the death of this man.
For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.
– Ezekiel 18:32
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles…
– Proverbs 24:17
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
– II Peter 3:9
God’s nation of priests is not a bloodthirsty people. It is not a vengeful people. It is not a murderous people. Yes, Osama bin Laden did wrong in this life. He caused pain to many. He reaped violence as he sowed violence, but Christ died for him as much as He died for me. I, in turn, am no more worthy of God’s mercy than was Osama bin Laden.
Christ died for the sinful, for the outcast, for the unworthy. While He lived, Jesus sat to eat with sinners of many varieties. I truly believe God is saddened at the loss of bin Laden’s soul as He would be with any other soul lost to our true enemy, and I can no more rejoice over this death than I could rejoice over the death of a loved one. While I admit to a certain carnal sense of finality, there is no joy where no hope is found. Therefore, instead of lifting up our voices in joy over the death of a lost soul, let’s instead work to lift each other up to the standard Christ set for us in His life and ministry.