It’s about time! I am finally starting to see others that feel the same way about the death of Osama Bin Laden. I was not part of the majority that danced in the streets at the announcement that Seal Team 6 had ended this mans life. I saw this man as a misguided child of God.
Was he a good guy you ask me, not from my perspective, he was a murder. I base my point of view on the fact that I am a Christian and the bible I read, the one that I share in common with most others that profess to be Christian, well it says “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.”
If you’re not a Christian, or not a person of faith, your excitement, your celebration can be forgiven. You do not proclaim a merciful tradition based on love or forgiveness, your moral and ethical perspective springs from the secular. You are not the audience I seek to speak to.
If you’re a reader like me, you may have learned that Bin Laden at one point was considered an ally of the United States, way back when we sided with the Mujaheddin during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We supplied he and his friends weapons and helped them get the Russians out. We shared in a common victory.
Later we supported and encouraged the Egyptian government as they incarcerated Bin Laden and many of the men that would become his allies. We supported that government that tortured these men and radicalized them so that they would one day form Al Qaida. We helped make the monster with our policies, with those we supported in the past. We cannot separate ourselves from our past.
For those that say, “Yes but…”, again I repeat, “Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.” To take any course other than this is to deny Christ and sever ourselves from our Christian principals. There is no additional line of scripture that follows that says, “unless of course this or that happened.”
When Christ died, he not only atoned for the sins we commit against the Father, he also atoned for the sins we commit against each other. When we supported the cause that drove these men to create Al Qaida, we were forgiven for these grave sins. When they, in their misguided attempts to take revenge for what they saw as wrongs against their society, their faith, they too had the opportunity for that same atonement, available to wash away the sin of thousands of deaths they caused. We of Christian tradition have all been taught that two wrongs do not make a right, neither do four, ten or a thousand. We are told, no… commanded to “love our enemies.“
While we may never fully grasp why these men do the deeds that they do, while we may never accept their point of view as valid, I certainly do not, we must still understand that from their perspective, from their collection of life experience, their actions are right, their actions are justified, their actions become the pinnacle of the demonstration of their faith. I’m pretty sure that no Christian here is overly concerned about what our Muslim brothers and sisters half way around the world think when it comes to matters of our faith, am I wrong?
This is the great weakness in society, world society, we lack the ability to stand back objectively and to even try to understand why another acts as they do. We profess a belief in God and His way, but given the opportunity, do not follow through, we offer only lip service, “having a form of Godly devotion but proving false to its power.”
Should Bin Laden have been punished, yes, definitely. But whom in our society is fit to carry out this justice? Looking to the new Testament we read of the woman caught in the very act of adultery. She, brought before the Savior, is accused and He asked what should be done. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” When all the accusers had left, the Lord commanded her to “go forth and sin no more.” He did not condone her sinful actions, he demonstrated mercy and sent her back out into the world.
What if we had captured Bin Laden and then shown mercy? What if the President of the United States of America, the nation that in some places is known as the great Satan, what if he had stood up in front of the world and said that as Christians, we beg mercy of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prophet God sent our ancestors, and are commanded to show the same mercy and forgiveness to those that sin against us? What effect would this, could this have had on middle eastern Muslim society? One can only imagine that it would have given them reason to pause, reason to take another look at us as a society. We will never know. All we have done is prove to these people that their stereotypes about Western Christian culture are accurate and that we continue to be the enemy.
Bin Laden and his associates, for that matter all men and women who seek to wreak terror upon mankind regardless of their religious affiliations, deserve judgment, but that judgment must come from the One that is without sin, not from those whose sins are abundant and readily apparent.
Does it feel good, do we feel safer knowing this fallen child of Gods life has come to an end? Probably, but have just exchanged the known for the unknown? The Muslims have a saying, “Better the Devil you know.”
Is Al Qaida dead, are our troubles over, no. All we have done is made the man a martyr. All we have done is held this man up as a shining beacon for so many young Muslim men to follow into martyrdom. All we’ve done is create the next generation for our children and grandchildren to face. The crusades never ended to some practicers of Islam, all we’ve done is to carry on the war.