I am a Christian. I am a husband, father, son, and friend. I am a pastor. I am an American. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the source of my feelings on a particular issue because I am complex. We all are. Because I am a Christian, I strive every day to make sure that I have a Biblical worldview, that is to say, a view of life that is entirely seen through the lens of God’s Word. This is not always an easy task. Why? Well, because as I mentioned I am a husband, a father, a son…etc… there are so many things that make up who I am. Plus, I am just straight opinionated.
Last night it was announced that one of the most evil men of recent history was killed. Is there an appropriate way to feel when you find out an evil man has been killed? The reason for my question is pretty straightforward. The responses to the news on Twitter and Facebook seemed mixed within Christian circles. Granted I would say that nearly 80 per cent of the reactions were some level of relief or joy, there were some that were uncomfortable or offended that people were rejoicing over this man’s death.
Back to the whole Biblical worldview thing. I make a decision every day to let the old me die and to allow the one to live who has been redeemed by Christ. It is not easy but it is necessary. One thing that deeply bothers me is when something happens and people respond by throwing out random scriptures to build an argument. For instance I’ve been seeing a lot of this:
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
BOOM! (as someone wrote on Facebook last night) Argument over. Not so fast my friend. Notice there is a comma there. I realize that punctuation is not inspired but common sense tells you there is something that follows.
18 or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.
If you gloat over your enemies you are doing God’s job for Him. He is about ready to execute judgement. Don’t get in his way by having some premature celebration when they stumble. It is the same principle as bragging about fasting and other spiritual disciplines that are best kept secret. Whatever reward or praise from men you receive you should enjoy because God certainly is not going to give you any more. This is also referring to enemies that are ALIVE. Let’s keep reading.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked,
20 for the evildoer has no future hope,
and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
The lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. This is the ultimate end for all evil. To be snuffed out. People who only want to talk about God’s love fail to realize that God’s justice is what makes His love real in the first place. There can be no true love without justice. I wonder if people were happy when they found out Hitler was dead. If people actually rejoiced was that unchristian? I mean, he only killed about 6 million people. I believe it is important to credit God for all of our victories. This insures He will keep fighting our battles for us as He did for Jehoshaphat. Let God fight for you, then rejoice in Him.
As a husband I mourn for the 10′s of thousands of widows who lost their spouse because of this man’s wickedness. As a father I mourn for the 10′s of thousands of parents who lost children because of this man’s wickedness. As a son I mourn for the 10′s of thousands of children who lost parents because of this man’s wickedness. As a friend I mourn for the 10′s of thousands of friends who lost friends because of this man’s wickedness. As a pastor I mourn for the 10′s of thousands of souls who are lost forever because they didn’t know Jesus, including Osama bin Laden. As an American, I mourn for the victims of 9/11 and their families. Surely this brings up old pain that has been tucked away. I not only mourn though, I celebrate this symbol of victory over one of the most painful moments in US history. As an American I am proud of our armed forces and their dedication to finish the job.
I believe this could potentially be a polarizing moment for Christians but I hope it is not. I hope everyone has a little grace for others that just simply don’t see it the same.