I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. After 9 1/2 years of pursuit, Usama Bin Laden has been declared killed by US Forces. I watched the television coverage late into the night, with very mixed emotions.
I am glad that he’s not ‘out there’ anymore. I’m not even mourning his death, really. But I cannot stomach the celebrations that I’m witnessing.
Let me say right now that I consider our military personnel separately from what I’m about to say. Their story is not our own. Their emotional attachment to this news is and deserves to be on a different level. I understand something of their relief and their satisfaction at a job done. Something.
But for those who have done mostly nothing…those average Americans who sit at home day after day, living their comparatively cushy lives, risking nothing and sacrificing nothing…for them – because of them – I feel saddened. Weary. Ashamed.
UBL did evil things. Few would argue with that. The world is probably a [marginally] safer place without him in it…though I don’t for one moment deceive myself enough to think there aren’t hundreds more radicals lined up to take his place.
I’m not sorry he is gone.
But I’m very, very sorry that another soul has been lost.
By earthly standards, Usama Bin Laden was about as bad as it gets. He was ‘less than’ me.
But by God’s standards? He was another child. A child just like me.
A child loved and lost.
I cannot allow myself to lose sight of that, and I cannot bring myself to celebrate something so contrary to the heart of God.
I don’t generally like to hear scripture quoted in a context like this. It can seem so self-righteous, and that’s not my intent. But in the hopes that it might give you pause, or reason to look at this victory in a new light…
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove, and turn His wrath away from them. ~Proverbs 24:17
As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked. ~Ezekiel 33:11
From my feed, Facebook statuses from the past 10 hours:
‘Good News. Osama Bin Laden is in hell.’
‘Wish we had footage we could all watch on tv, Al-Jazeera style’
‘We should have a parade with his head on a stick’
‘Earthquake warning: Bin Laden is in hell and even they don’t want him.’
‘They should strap a bomb to him and blow his body to bits, let the pieces rain down over the whole [bleep] country’
Oh and of course the numerous ‘Ding Dong Bin Laden’s dead’ posts. Cheering the fact that he’s gone ‘below, below, below, yo-ho!’
I’m very sorry that this nation, despised for its arrogance in much of the world, will now be making international headlines for our celebration in the streets. Much like they celebrated the terrorist attack that started all of this. Much like I imagine they would celebrate the assassination of our President. And we would be sickened by their celebrations, wouldn’t we? Because it’s evil. Because we’re above that.
Except when the shoe is on the other foot, apparently. Then we’re able to appreciate the differences.
‘But we’re the good guys!’
Right. The good guys.
Who, in that moment, don’t actually look all that different from the ‘bad guys’
Perception is reality.
Remember that while you celebrate.
Conduct yourself accordingly.
We did what needed to be done, but we don’t have to delight in it.
I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. ~Ezekiel 18: 32
And…the job is not done.