Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama is Dead: A Reflection

Osama bin Laden is dead. Killed by US Navy Seals and CIA agents. What does this mean, Lord? How many others will die because of this? How many more would have died if he had lived? Possibly the same number, just different people.  

Evil is so deeply rooted in this event that it seems beyond redemption. I watched the reports of his demise with a mixture of "he got what he deserved" and sadness for the state of humanity that operates on an eye-for-an-eye scale of justice, not "love your enemies." Lord, your Easter greeting, "Peace be with you," gets lost in CNN's reporting and scenes of gloating crowds at Ground Zero and the White House. Because we do not value peace, we shut our ears to Your salutation and invitation. Revenge is the sweet nectar we drink to the point of intoxication. But the hangover will follow.

Am I happy Osama is dead? God help me, yes. Do I feel the "closure" so many are claiming? No. Am I happy being happy he is dead? No. It reminds me how far I still need to go in my own conversion to the peace-giving Christ. 

And so it goes in this complex affair we call life.
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  1. I mainly agree with your sentiments. I think it is for the best that he is dead and certainly that he was not captured alive. I feel no gloating nor joy and am just glad he was taken out as an individual, not bombed etc. where others were affected.
    If we did not sometimes take an eye for an eye would not evil win and really take over all facets of this world?

  2. "If we did not sometimes take an eye for an eye would not evil win and really take over all facets of this world?" That's the question that challenges every would-be follower of Jesus. As G.K. Chesterton said, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." Thanks for your comment, Jill.

  3. Hello Al! Thank you for posting such a thought-provoking essay. It is importnat that as human beings we show compassion and mercy to our enemies. Unfortunately, as human beings we are not perfect, and we often find it very difficult if not impossible to forgive someone like Osama bin Laden. Thanks to your essay, I now have a better understanding of my reaction to the news that bin Laden was killed, and I pray for God's forgiveness.

  4. Thanks for sharing your personal struggle, Michael. What I'm hearing from others (most responses come to me privately) is that my sharing has "given people permission" to have a split reaction to Osama's demise. Not that they needed my permission. In other words, they felt it was okay at last to admit openly that they are of two minds, feeling split between two unreconciled forces--human and divine.

  5. Hi Al,
    I just read you essay (a little late) and all I wanted to say was that when I heard the news of Bin Laden's death, the first thought that came to my mind was, Oh, Oh, now we have trouble. I never gave it a thought about how he died or what was going to happen to his body, but how our lives were going to be with all the aftermath. Has anything changed? Nope.