Last evening, the President informed Americans that our military had successfully carried out their mission to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. I must admit that I felt both joy and patriotic pride at hearing our enemy had been killed. But when I saw the celebrations in the streets of Washington and New York, it reminded me of how awful it was to watch our enemies celebrate by dragging our dead soldiers through the streets of Somalia, and the celebrations by large crowds of Muslims after 9/11. Something in me made me ashamed of my reaction. I soon realized what the Holy Spirit was trying to teach me. A sister in the Lord had quoted a single Bible verse on Facebook that said it all: Ezekiel 18:23 says, "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?" I was reminded of what our Lord said about those who were in the process of killing Him. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Lk. 23:34).
This morning, I began looking up other verses on how we are to respond to the death of our enemies, and here are just a few:
Job 31:28-30 "This also [were] an iniquity [to be punished by] the judge: for I should have denied the God [that is] above. If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul."
Proverbs 24:17 "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:"
Matthew 5:43-44 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Romans 12:19-21 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
My question to my born-again brothers and sisters is this: If we respond no differently than the world does to such events, isn't it likely that the world will fail to see that Christ's message is all about love? After all, if Jesus could pray for the Roman soldiers who were torturing Him, is it possible that men like Osama Bin Laden are deceived by the Evil One? Ultimately, we have only three enemies: ourselves, Satan, and death. I rejoice that all born-again Christians will eventually see the defeat of all three (1 Jn. 3:2; Rev. 20:10; 20:14). To God be the glory!