Like a lot of folks, I have had mixed feeling since I found out that USA Special Services killed Osama Bin Laden on May 2nd.
On one hand, it is good to know that the man who masterminded the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City is dead.
On the other hand, my heart is pained to hear that another human has died – no, worse then that, they were killed.
I know that folks can point to various biblical passages to ‘justify‘ killing in war…That may be, I don’t know anymore…I just know that the longer I follow Jesus, the more I becoming a pacifist…The more I feel the pain in seeing a fellow human made in the image of God dying as a result of evil…
Add to this pain the sight of fellow Christians celebrating Bin Laden’s death…a sight that reminded me of the demonstrations among radical Muslims after the Sept 11th terrorist attack….
Then today, I read a letter by N.T. Wright posted on Carl Medearis’ website about the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden.
For those who don’t know N.T. Wright, he is one of the primary theologians of our times. He is also a British citizen who sees things through slight different lens.
In this case, he compares the USA raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan to a theoretical attack by Britain on IRA terrorists in Boston.
Yeah…think about for a bit…don’t dismiss it outright because it is a situations that could legally happen as the USA Government has welcomed IRA leaders at the White House.
What does all this mean?
I guess it comes back to the word I heard at the Vineyard National Conference last week: Mercy triumphs over judgment
We are to give mercy to all; we are to bless and love everyone – friend and foe alike.
Jesus was born, lived, and ministered in the midst of a conquered people. The culture around him pushed and prodded him to take sides – either fight against the Roman Empire or forgo the promises of God and join with the Gentiles.
Yet, Jesus took a third way.
He included a Jewish terrorist (Simon the Zealot) and a Roman tax collector (Matthew) in his inner circle. He conquered judgment and fear with mercy and love.
Shouldn’t we as followers of Jesus do the same?
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. -James 2:12-13
Clarification (Added on May 12, 2011):
N.T. Wright is NOT making a judgment call on the killing of Bin Laden. What he IS doing is calling attention to the fact that the USA government, for right or wrong, took military action within another sovereign nation without asking that nation’s permission beforehand. Furthermore, the USA has a history of ignoring international laws whenever it benefits the USA.
As a USA citizen, I also have questions about the way the USA government handled the matter. Over the years I have come to recognize the value of international cooperation through multiple trips internationally and tons of discussions with friends overseas. The USA government may have good reasons for what they did…then again, they may not… either way, I think it is good to question the assumed right the USA government takes in being the world’s police force.
As to my references to pacifism and mercy, they are my response to the killing of Ben Laden, not N.T. Wrights. And no, this does not mean that I think the military is evil or bad. I made no judgments on anyone – their actions are between them and God. I regularly thank the Lord for the protection and freedom that the USA Armed Forces gives (and has given) to me, my family, and everyone who lives in the USA. (and yes, I do have family and friends in the military at this present moment).
My thoughts are simply a response to what seems to be an attitude of joy across the nation at the death of Bin Laden. An attitude that seem to me to be misplaced as I feel that we should morn the death of any fellow human who died without knowing Jesus personally. My heart breaks for these people as God is reaching down and wanting a relationship with them – He wants to repair the damage done in their lives by the evil one.
I pray daily that the Lord will come again soon and destroy evil once and for all – then we will not have to deal with these sticky issue. 🙂