A biblical response to the killing of bin Laden

Published 6:33 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2011

By Jake McCall

Within the last three days since the confirmed news of Osama bin Laden’s death, I have received the following questions: “Is it OK for me to be celebrating the death of an evil man?” “Should we rejoice as a Church that bin Laden was killed and is in hell?” “Didn’t Jesus say that we should love our enemies?” “Is my happiness in seeing him killed sinful?”

As I was watching this story unfold through different media outlets, some of those same questions entered my mind. Ultimately, as Christians, our question should be, “From a biblical view, how should I feel and respond to the killing of bin Laden?” First of all, yes, we should love our enemies and love those who even hate us. However, first and foremost, we should love God and we should love all that he is. So in breaking down bin Laden’s attacks and hatred against us and our nation, we must know that the reason he was against the U.S. is because he saw the U.S. as a threat against his branch of radical Islam.

Despite our own national sins and unrepentant spirit, he targeted the U.S. because he saw us as a Christian nation. When bin Laden and Al Qaeda waged war on our country, war was raged against Christ.

The reason that this is important to break down is because it is just and right to celebrate God’s justice. Do we celebrate that one of our enemies or one of our nation’s enemies has been killed?
Not necessarily.

But do we celebrate that God has decided to defeat one of his enemies? Yes, for we are celebrating that God has claimed a victory over evil and that bin Laden will no longer lead others in hating the one true God and no longer lead others in worshipping an untrue god.

I believe we can always rejoice when justice prevails, which happens when those that reject God must stand before Him and be judged. This is what happened to bin Laden at his death. This rejoicing does not make us judgmental or vengeful. This allows us to say, “Vengeance is the Lord’s he will repay.” Scripture speaks of much rejoicing when God defeated leaders and kings, who were against God and his people. So we don’t necessarily rejoice that the U.S. won but we rejoice because God gave us a small picture of the ensuing victory he will have over all of evil.

In summarizing a biblical response that I believe should come from my own heart and in the hearts of Christians worldwide — rejoice in God’s justice but with much greater importance, rejoice in God’s mercy. For without God’s sacrificial mercy in sending his Son to all who would believe, we too would only deserve His righteous judgment and just punishment.

This truth is clearly declared in Colossians 1:21-23, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.”

Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is pastor of Grace Fellowship in Clanton.