Should Americans Rejoice Over Bin Laden's Death?
What is the right response to Bin Laden's death?
• Are we thinking clearly about what the best reaction should be to the raid in which bin Laden was killed?
• Are we carefully considering how best to react to the various reports?
• In light of the atmosphere in the Middle East, have Americans responded wisely to the death of bin Ladin?
• In light of the carefulness that our current political climate requires, are the right questions being asked about this issue?
• Are we examining our own motives carefully enough to respond wisely to the issues we face?
Apparently, BIn Laden is Dead
On Sundays I don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in the world so I barely heard about the deletion before Monday. Then several reports went quickly by me. To tell the truth, I caught just barely enough for me to get the gist of the news.
Questions began flying in every direction so I decided to wait until there were some answers before listening to much of the fracas. One had to wonder, of course, how? How did it happen? Who was responsible? When did his security break down? Where did he die? What would happen in that part of the world next?
Monday morning's radio news had recordings of a large group of Americans repeatedly shouting “USA! USA!" A friend mentioned the event to me over our lunch, asking if I had heard about what was going on. The news on my computer was given to the topic. I was glad that I was busy with my own affairs until I could do some reasonable thinking about the situation.
The most compelling comments came from a call-in program on Monday afternoon that invited listeners to voice their opinions regarding this unexpected incident. The host was getting a taste of old-fashioned wisdom from people who had been listening closely to what was being reported. It was quite interesting to hear those viewpoints from a wide variety of just plain folks.
Sobering thoughts crossed my mind as I listened. I was reminded of God's warning that we will face the end of this life sooner or later, that we will go so far in this life and no farther. But it was the warnings against the jubilance being displayed in some parts of our country that really caught my ear at the time.
Ranging from urging people to respond carefully because it is unwise to enrage and inflame enemies to encouraging people to heed Bible warnings against rejoicing when an enemy falls, these callers were offering some real insight. I realized that even those who are not Christians see the common sense that Bible counsel offers mankind.
Later, I thought about the fact that the war on terror was not won when bin Laden died in the battle at his compound on Sunday and how we need to keep that in mind rather than let our guard down. No definition of Sunday’s victorious strike against bin Ladin indicates that we are safe from terrorist activity. Nothing from history speaks peace to us about the way things currently stand.
There's a Comparison to Consider
I thought of Hitler’s simultaneous demise with the end of a war that the free world won. There were two kinds of people surrounding him. His true supporters made up one group. Their plans in the case of Hitler’s death were in place. The people who did not support his ideologies were hoping they could just get out of the war alive and get away from the barbarian and his regime. They had to be cautious, though, for they knew that enemies walked among them.
After the war’s end those who had been gripped in Hitler's evil machine rejoiced when they were free of his insanity, and his surviving supporters were in one fashion or another forced underground. It was time for the German people to pick up the pieces and move forward. Hitler’s supporters were subdued. History details the ensuing chain of events, but those who wanted to (and were able to) went on to work toward a free Germany.
This war on terror, however, is not over. Just as Hitler’s devotees would have openly continued his work if they could have found a way to do so, there are those who are ready and willing to step into bin Ladin’s shoes today. Perhaps we should expect to soon see that someone has already done so.
What We Need to Remember in Order to Respond Wisely to News of Bin Laden's Death
Long before modern politicians declared a war on terror, this war was already raging, and it will extend into the future. The dynamics of terrorism and the fight against it change with time and technology, but what was set in motion in Ishmael's day will continue until its appointed end.
Once I sorted out these current events and related them to history I was able to begin some serious thinking about the way that I as a Believer should personally respond to the death of bin Ladin. Christians first look at things from the standpoint of God’s Word and then from the standpoint of their nationality in order to reconcile the two.
For true Christians the world over, there is no satisfaction in this death. While I am glad that bin Laden cannot personally continue his reign of terror, I still wish that he would have accepted the love of Christ and been transformed by it. Sadly, it is the Lord’s love that the bin Ladens of this world hate.
I wish that he would have been willing to listen to reason. I wish that he had been a caring leader among the people in his area of the world instead of one who was willing to promote deprivation among them and commit violence against them. But he wasn't.
I am thankful that he has been stopped, but I do not rejoice in his end. He was filled with hate and savagery. He was a selfish warmonger, dangerous to the entire world. He “was”... yet, there is now a someone in his coterie vying for his position. There will always be bin Ladins to reckon with in this world.
The Great Cost
What Can I Do?
As for me, I'm thankful that I can look at all that is happening, pray for everyone involved, and attend to what He has given my hands to do without driving myself crazy over any aspect of the issues and events. By trusting the Lord's omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence according to His Word I can walk through the valleys of life, over the mountaintops, and into the future--no matter what a person like bin Laden may do.
Who Are We?
How Should We Think About a Future Without Bin Laden?
In some cases such men will be Judas’ to each other; in other cases they will band together and decide on which of their own to support. As with all such situations, there are also those who are captive, hoping to escape the clutches of the vicious despotism their smaller organizations are steeped in.
To think that this latest raid is a settlement of the issues would be absurdly naive. To think that there will not be major attempts at retaliation from now to the end of time is to deny what history teaches us. To think that we are powerful enough or wise enough to counter those attempts at retaliation without humbling ourselves before God and pleading for His forgiveness and mercy is to be self destructive.
"I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:" Is. 48:17-18
The duty of a Believer could be summed up by endeavoring to seek to know and understand the Word of God, to love, worship, and serve God according to the entire counsel of His Word, to love mercy, and to speak and live the truth in love.
Am I a perfect Christian in all my duty? No, but His love is bound up with His character which perfectly integrates compassion and mercy with wisdom and peace that does not conflict with justice. If I will humbly go to Him for help, He will be faithful to His Word to give His help in time of need.
It is a sad thing that so many leaders of homes, businesses, organizations, and nations are too full of pride to follow God's instruction on getting His help to know how to wisely respond to incidents such as this bin Laden's death.