I know everyone is excited about the news this week, and certainly that is understandable. The death of a evil man responsible for countless terrorist attacks against our country specifically, is – at the least – cause for major relief. As a pastor, I have already had several people from my church family ask me how we should respond to the news of the death of America’s #1 terrorist.
On one hand, Bin Laden has killed thousands of American lives. Many of whom did not have a relationship with Christ were sent to an untimely appointment before their Creator. The Bible certainly seems to condone the use of deadly force when required, and is the foundation for capital punishment. (Exodus 21:12)
But on the other hand, Jesus tells us to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you…” He says that “By your love for one another, the world will know that you are my disciples.” And the apostle John writes concerning Jesus that He, “died, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.”(1 John 2:1-2)
We must understand that the role of government is first and foremost to protect it’s people. Part of that means holding criminals to the standard of justice for their crimes. Romans 13 even tells us that God has placed authority over us to deliver justice against injustices, and that authority does not “bare the sword in vain.”
Yet as individuals, we are commanded to be a people of love. God restores the old and makes it new. He cleanses dirty, broken lives, and turns them into beautiful works of art, perfect to be used of Him. We must remember that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance.”
So as a nation, it is appropriate for us to rejoice in the ridding of a very dangerous man to the livelihood of our children and neighbors. But as followers of Jesus, we must also remember that He died for every act of terrorism, white lie, lustful thought, pride, greed, selfishness, rape, dishonor, etc… And as terrible as all of that sounds – that God would be willing to extend mercy to someone that bad – He also died for me… And I know me better than anyone. If God could sacrificially forgive me from my sin, then I must love whomever He loves.
Someone asked, “So are we just suppose to be pacifists in all of this?” the answer: no. Radical love is never passive. Let’s celebrate more about the rising of a Savior than the death of another sinner! We are the church! And we will be known by how we love!