Several wise people–far wiser than I–have already been writing about Osama Bin Laden’s death since the announcement last night. As I find more posts worth reading I may add them later. Found an interesting one here.
While there certainly is a sense of accomplishment with this act, and even a sincere feeling of justice on my part, I recoil from the notion of rejoicing over Bin Laden’s death. Truly, it is the end to a serious and proven threat to the lives and safety of innocent and vulnerable people around the world and that is good! I am not squeamish about war and although I would certainly consider myself a Just Warrior and not a pacifist, I have had many struggles with a tendency toward a vengeful nature and have wrestled mightily with this over the years. It is in my nature to want to celebrate, jump for joy, shoot off fireworks and sing victory songs over the death of the enemy. However, it is this very tendency that has, over the years, prompted me to consider the faithfulness of this response and conclude that it seems distasteful, dishonorable and unrighteous to celebrate the death of the enemy with such relish and joy. We specifically have an injunction from Jesus to love our enemy and while ending the enemy’s ability to commit evil may indeed be within those bounds, rejoicing over their death simply is not.
Additionally, I find it difficult to celebrate the death of one when a thousand of his deaths would not restore the life of a single one of those who died at his hand or in pursuit of him. Even if the death of Osama Bin Laden brings the end of a war, and I most sincerely and deeply pray that it may, and even though it most assuredly does end a severe threat to the safety and security of many innocent people in the world, it will not bring us true peace and that is, above all other things, what our world desperately needs.
Jesus said ‘Peace be with you’ and he showed them his wounds. This is what brings us peace–not the death of any tyrant. Peace never comes from death; only from resurrection.