I have read Facebook statuses this morning by believers who are rejoicing in the death of Osama Bin Laden. They justify their joy by citing verses such as Proverbs 11:10 “When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.” But is this right? Is this the reaction a child of God should have? Is this how a follower of Jesus should respond to the death of a very wicked man?
We are to image God to the world, for as believers we are being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. What does Scripture say about a situation such as this?
Proverbs 24:17-18 tells us, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” We are also asked a rhetorical question by God in Ezekiel 28:23, “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” The obvious answer is that God does not delight when the wicked meet their end. Justice is served, yes, but He does not joy in the fact that the wicked have met their end. There is a difference between the oppressed rejoicing because they are set free (Prov. 11:10), and the oppressed rejoicing in the suffering and death of the oppressor (what God condemns in Prov. 24:17-18).
I would pose a question to those Christian people who are encouraging joy over the death of Osama: How often did you pray for his conversion? If we are to be followers of Jesus then we are to obey His teachings. Jesus taught us, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” To the Christian rejoicing over the death of a radical Muslim, to those who aren’t the least bit taken back by the reality that there is a man who is perishing in hell, an individual created with the intended purpose of imaging and knowing his Creator but failed to realize that purpose; I ask you this – how much of Jesus’ words did you follow while Osama was alive?
I am not claiming to have followed them perfectly, but then I am not rejoicing of the death of this man either. I failed to pray for Osama as I should, to be quite honest with you out of sight is out of mind, and I was wrong for not more closely following the teachings of Jesus in that matter. But my failure to do that doesn’t justify adding more wrong on top of it by rejoicing in the death of this wicked man.
How are you reflecting Jesus today to the lost, especially the Muslim, world? Do they see you being gracious and merciful toward the ungodly? Or do they see you as full of vengeance and wrath? Where is your loyalty – Jesus or America? Your response has already answered that question. It is my experience that there are more believers thinking like a “patriot” instead of a Christian.
The world is taking note – what are you teaching them about Jesus?