Joyful Sorrow

At 10:19 pm, on Sunday, May 1st, while sitting on my couch watching TV, I received a text from my mother that said, “Have you seen the news!?!?” Without asking why, I immediately switched from my DVR to live TV and saw that Osama Bin Laden had been killed in a strategic military strike just hours earlier. That moment will be forever burned into my memory, just as the Challenger explosion, the Discovery disintegration and most of all, the events of September 11, 2001.

I find myself conflicted.

This week, Americans have a reason to celebrate. Our “Public Enemy No. 1” has been eliminated. The news of the death of Osama Bin Laden traveled very quickly (as all news does in our technological age) and thousands of people took to the streets. The media showed videos of triumphal rejoicing in front of the White House, the site of the World Trade Centers and even the home of President George W. Bush.

We, as Americans, should rejoice, right? After all, the attacks on the World Trade Centers, orchestrated by Bin Laden, were the cause of the largest number of deaths in American history; surpassing that of Pearl Harbor. The death of Bin Laden, in many ways, brings closure to the families who lost their father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter in that tragic moment. His death brings a renewed hope for peace to a still grieving nation; not to mention a renewed confidence in the nearly ten year struggle in which our military has been engaged in the Middle East. Certainly, the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a necessary and positive action on the part of those brave Navy Seals and President Obama, who gave the order.

However, I cannot find joy in the death of another human being. Perhaps my brother put it most plainly in a recent Facebook post: “A little perspective: Jesus loved Bin Laden just as much as he loves you.” The fact is that we all fall short of the glory of God. As much as our humanity does not want to admit it, Christ died for that terrorist just as He died for you and me. If it were not for the blood of Jesus, there are none of us who would be worthy of a crown of righteousness.

Today, there is a man who never knew Christ, the Savior. There is a man who never came in contact with the Savior’s blood. There is a man who never knew the true Jehovah God. Rather than rejoice over the death of an enemy, perhaps we should mourn the loss of a soul.

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18 ESV)

May God bless America. May God continue to bring comfort and strength to those who lost loved ones on that fateful 9/11. May your light shine as a beacon in the night to the lost souls of this world.

And, thank you to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily to protect us. May God bless you and your family!


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