Christians are never asked to support killing anyone and yet few can argue that the recent demise of Osama bin Laden by the Navy Seals was celebrated as a victory by all counts and by those of many faiths and I believe rightly so.
The bible tells of several killings that were met with celebration and even joy. In the Book of Numbers, God tells the Israelites to take vengence on the Midianites(Numbers 13:2). In 1 Samuel 15:8, God encourages His people to make war on the cruel Amakelites until they are “wiped out”. It seems unrealistic that God would condone this however we must remember that God does not encourage evil and evil doers but recognizes that evil will exist in the world and that evil is a product of the devil. God does not cause evil or create it but the free will of man permits him(man) to choose whether to honor good(God) or evil(the devil) and sometimes there is no choice but to eradicate the evil in whatever means is possible.
Osama bin Laden was the personification of the devil…pretending to live larger than life but too insecure and despised to live in the open. Much of the evil we face in the world is pervasive and disguised, often going unrecognized as evil until we see its results; pornography, the decline of family values, drug cultures and exploitation of all types of people are evil forces within cultures. We don’t live in a perfect world with Pollyanna views regardless of the belief system we embrace or the values we uphold and because of this we must deal with ridding the world of evil in a variety of ways; sometimes like the extinction of men like bin Laden.
Yes, I am relieved and pleased to have this evil man off the face of the earth but as a Christian I realize that his behavior does not reflect that of every Pakistani or mideastern person and that while I want his entire army to come to the same end, I felt no less sure of wanting that demise for other evils such as communism, racism or any other group or individual who does not uphold the dignity of man.
Supporting elimination of evil is not anti-Christian even if that evil is a person. This does not mean I support the death penalty for everyone who is evil. What I do support is eliminating evil in the best way possible, sometimes that way is not the most humane. Sometimes it can be by eliminating the freedom someone who is committing evil crimes has by incarceration, but sometimes it is by simply adhering to the biblical warning to annihilate the evil doers and in bin Laden’s case no further monies or energy should ever have been spent on a trial or subsequent imprisonment.
I know some people will assume I am suggesting individuals go out and “annihilate” those they believe are committing heinous and evil acts. This is not only a foolish suggestion but one that assumes we can decide who or what is evil and follow through on our belief which of course is far from the truth.
We have laws, forces and trained personnel who are to act on our behalf to see that justice is done. While I certainly condone acting in self defense, I neither support or want a personal vigilante system in our country where anyone who thinks another is “acting evil” acts upon their belief system and does the deed to wipe out the evil. God will judge our actions. The bible tells us to uphold our government. In 1 Peter 2:13-14, we are asked to submit to all authority instituted by men and uphold those who are sent to punish those who do wrong.
It is not up to me to rid the world of its devils but it is up to me to rid my world of my own personal evils(behaviors) that corrupt or destroy my relationship with God. But, it is up to me to place trust in those to whom I submitted my authority for making the world a better place one less devil at a time…and to celebrate the victory when it occurs.
How has the execution of Osama bin Laden affected you?