How about this: God creates man, Man ignores God, Man destroys Man, Man blames God.
It has taken me all day to process the news of Bin Laden's death. I'm sure there is more processing to do. When I heard the news, I first doubted its truth and then when I accepted that it was true I felt a void. I still am not sure if 10 years of history regarding war and terrorism seems so normal to me or if I am sad that in order for our country to find peace and resolution murder had to take place. I still remember the day, like many do, when the trade towers, pentagon, and flight 93 were attacked and thousands of Americans were killed. I don't think I will ever forget that day. However, I also remember a thought after around 24 hours of processing that horrendous event and finding out Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind. Here was my thought, "What would it look like if our government instead of violent war and immediate lethal action chose a way of Jesus instead, namely grace. Does it work for an entire country to turn its other cheek? How do we bring people to justice, but choose not to bring self-crippling hate into the picture? What would happen if we chose to allow God to bring vengeance and justice rather than choose to take that act on ourselves? I don't think I ever received answers to these questions and I'm not sure they are even the right questions to ask.
After hearing about the celebrations, parties, and chants that have taken place all around our country I have a new set of questions.
Why would I as a Christian want to celebrate murder (an explicit commandment of God to not participate in)?
How do I appropriately respect my friends and family who have fought and died for their country and not choose to enjoy someone's death?
When does justice cross the line of hatred, evil, and arrogance?
How does the death of Osama Bin Laden redeem people for God's kingdom?
Does the fact that God waged war through His people justify us waging war for our safety or dominance?
Can our love of country warp our perspective of God?
Should we ever celebrate a victory by death when it is our own victory and not God's?
Are we any different from Non-Christians when we pursue hatred and vengeance (directly or indirectly) as the means to the end?
Should scripture be read through a scientific lens, story lens, justice lens, redemption lens, or something else?
Would God (and did he in this case) use humans to kill someone in order to stop the atrocities they have caused other innocent people, God's people?
Here's the deal. I don't believe that Osama Bin Laden's life was safe for any people, especially God's people. I am not a pacifist, and yet the more I see death, murder, war celebrated I am more discouraged and put off. I believe that the entire story of God is His redemption of people from the broken and dark world we live in where evil and sin have intruded every portal. By believing that I am bound to believe that the action we should place ourselves in for God's kingdom should be redemption seekers and redemptive believers. I believe the capture of Bin Laden could have solved many of our fears and issues of social justices where he as a mastermind was concerned. And I believe that by celebrating the intentional murder of Bin Laden and supporting that with scripture and religious rhetoric is not very different than a radical muslim taking aim at Americans because of their religious differences and the evils they believe we have shown to them.
Am I relieved that Osama Bin Laden will no longer be a threat to our country and many other countries world-wide? Yes! Will I have a party and rejoice over another's death? No. Am I discontent with my country for doing what was necessary to protect it's people, including myself? No! Am I sad that as Christians we sometimes share more in common with nationalism than Jesus? Yes!
I cannot recall one time when Jesus called his people to revolt or fight. That is the subversive nature of Christ. Even when Malchus' ear was cut off by Peter, Jesus rebukes Peter and heals the ear of Malchus. Peter was Just but Jesus came to redeem. Redemption always trumps Justice!