Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama, Obama, Burning, and Geraldo

Much in the same way I randomly turned on the T.V. at an unusual time 10 years ago on September 11th, and watched the 2nd plane slam into the towers. . . . I turned on the news last night at 9:45 for no apparent reason. There was breaking news, I toggled between Wolf Blitzer and Geraldo "stretching" for time (and awkwardly so) waiting for the President to speak. The news came early (is anything actually announced at the proper time these days? Can anything not be "leaked"?) Osama Bin Laden was dead.

Geraldo almost cried and then he hi-fived the Retired General sitting across from him. Words failed (not that he didn't try), people at the Pentagon were "shaking" with the news.

Some were rejoicing, some were saying "burn in hell, Osama" on Facebook; others started immediately judging those responses saying that "Christians don't" do those kinds of things.

I wonder how many people who were denying an eternal Hell a few weeks ago are now wishing Osama would be there. I wonder how many people fighting against viewing God as "angry" and "punitive" are now wishing He would be so, (against Bin Laden, of course)

What's the proper response?

1) humility. Jesus talked about tragedy, encouraging those who were listening to "repent or you will likewise perish". It's a good time to confess our sins and realize that justice is coming for us as it did for Osama last week. We need Jesus to stand in the gap for us, we need to believe in Him, and then the justice meant for us was absorbed by Jesus.

2) reluctance. I'm getting to the good ones, don't worry. . . . but our attitude should, at the very least, not be quick to rejoice, pile on, or tell crude jokes about Bin Laden's belief system or what awaits him on the other side. . . . there but for the grace of God go I.

3) thanksgiving. For the mercies of Christ, for our military, for the sacrifice of those who serve to protect our country. It's appropriate to thank these men, and it's appropriate to give some of them leash (I'm going to include Geraldo here, he's spent years embedded with the forces in Afghanistan, chasing Bin Laden. . .he has pictures on his wall of guys he's traveled with who are now dead) in their celebration. We're not on the front lines, we haven't been chasing this man for 10 years. Let's let those who have. . . . . release a little bit and celebrate.

4) rejoicing. Not in the death of a man. But, the fact that justice was done to a man who is trying to kill you. . us, our children. Some are so quick to judge any who smack of being thankful that Osama is gone. As an American we can be happy that a brutal murderer has been brought to justice.

I thought President Obama was measured, firm, and gracious in victory last night. . . it was an appropriate tone, I think. And hey, kudos to him and others who have kept their eye on the ball with plenty of bunny trails at their disposal. Although I'm sure President Obama will try to reap the political rewards (and rightly so) from such a triumph, this has been a 10 year project under 2 presidents, numerous generals, and how many countless soldiers. Great job to all of them.

Yes, it's time to bring up the verses from Ezekiel about not rejoicing in the death of the wicked:

Ezekiel 33:11 (New International Version, ©2011)

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?

There's alot to say about that verse, most notably that this was Israel, God's chosen people. But, this isn't the blog post for exegesis. Let's simply balance that with Romans 13 which talks about the role of Government:

Romans 13:4-5

4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

Should we pile on and wish that Bin Laden would "burn in Hell"? No. Should we judge those who would rejoice in this occasion as the end of a long military mission (that they were apart of ) and that a dangerous man has been brought to justice? No.

Let's stake out some middle ground and humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, . . while at the same time being thankful that justice has been done here, our Government has done their job (as the bible outlines it), and we're safer for it.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Thoughtful. Appropriate. Well-stated.