Since Sunday, I have had many thoughts whirling through my head. I was going to write a blog post about, but my friend Chad Estes wrote one first! I thoroughly agree with what he said and would like to share it with you. If you like what he has written, please check out more of his writings at Captian’s Blog . You will be challenged.
My Conflicting Thoughts on the Death of Osama Bin Laden by Chad Estes
I will admit I experienced mixed feelings when I heard the news of Osama Bin Laden’s demise. First off, I felt victorious. This was a long, drawn out battle that we, as Americans, won. The competitive side of me flexed, the justice-seeking side of me felt satisfied, and the peace-seeking side of me breathed a sigh of relief. However, I wasn’t overly overjoyed and didn’t feel like celebrating with rockets red glare. It’s taken me a bit of reflection to figure out why I’m happy and uncomfortable at the same time.
There simply is no victory that will make up for the loss of innocent life on 9/11. If you add up the lives lost, the money spent, the wars waged, I hardly feel like we are way ahead on the scoreboard against Team Terrorism. But even if we could round up all that were responsible, punish and/or kill them, speeding them on their way to eternal damnation, it wouldn’t bring back our loved ones or make the TSA lay down their wands. Of course ending this particular man’s reign of terror does bring some manner of closure for the victims’ families, but we continue to grieve with them, knowing their loss is no less of a loss today having sent Osama to his watery grave. Killing Bin Laden can never be more than a hollow win.
I think the satisfaction that I do feel is patriotic. I’m proud of our troops and think they deserve props for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe at home. I am very thankful for a country that shows tenacity and doesn’t give up. I like that our last two presidents—one red, one blue—didn’t relent until we’d seen the whites of our enemy’s eyes. I hope it gives pause to those who would think to bring other acts of cowardly terrorism to our country.
And I find myself grateful that I live in a country that stands up against tyranny and oppression. We have a history of doing so… even though it’s pretty messy history. Sometimes we’ve shown up too late to the fight, other times it seems like we’ve stuck our American nose in places we shouldn’t have. The United States continues to fight, and pay a high price, for our and others’ freedoms. I think it is a noble effort, and part of our DNA as a nation.
As a follower of Jesus, though, I have mixed feelings. Ultimately it will be Love that Wins out, not force. How we manage from now until then is tricky. German pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer wrestled with this complex issue when he decided to elevate some of his belief principles over others when he chose to be a part of the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. It isn’t as black and white as some of our tweets and Facebook comments seem to make it. Maybe Osama Bin Laden was a modern day uncircumcised Philistine giant who, like Goliath, needed to be terminally dealt with before the conflict in the region would stop. But there are also other enemies in our biblical narrative like Naaman, the Syrian General, who ended up getting baptized in the Jordan and healed of both his leprosy and his pride. We need to remember the Roman Centurion, who though he was a part of a conquering army in the Holy Land, had the greatest faith in Jesus in all of Israel. And then there was the other Centurion who stood beneath Jesus’ place of execution, torture, and terrorism—the place where Jesus spoke out forgiveness for him—and where the man, in awe, recognized Jesus for who he is.
As Americans, let us celebrate our victory, but not mock. Let us rejoice, but not forget those who are still mourning. And though we still find ourselves righteously fighting for peace and freedom, let us keep moving towards the day when peace rules in our hearts and in our land without the need for violence and force.
As Christ-followers, let us remember our calling is in being life givers, not judges and executioners. No matter how upside down it feels, forgiveness and reconciliation are our God-proven weapons against slavery, fear, and death.
Thanks Chad, well put.