I’m taking a brief break from the Love Wins review to offer a few thoughts on the death of Usama Bin Laden (UBL). Across the Facebook and Twitter landscape, many people have expressed their jubilation over UBL’s death. He’s been a heavily hunted man for over a decade, and to finally find him, and kill him, has caused many to rejoice. Me? Honestly, I’m conflicted.
There is a part of me that wants to be glad. UBL’s actions against our nation have, until yesterday, gone unaccounted for; to finally capture him and deliver justice is a good thing. This part of me is the part that likes justice, and deeply desires to see things set right when an injustice has occurred. However, something keeps me from celebrating. There is something deeper than my sense of justice preventing me from letting gladness overtake my emotions.
A friend of mine asked me a question this morning: What does this change? That’s a valid question. Does UBL’s death satisfy the longings of those who lost loved ones to be reunited? No. No amount of justice will restore the loss of a loved one. Does UBL’s death satisfy the desire for an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth? No. One man’s death cannot possibly serve as an equivalence to the death of thousands. Does UBL’s death change anything militarily? No. We will still be fighting Al Qaeda because the organization still lives on with a new leader. There is nothing gained through the death of UBL, except the satisfaction that none of the special forces guys were harmed during this operation and there’s now one less terrorist on the loose. But really, who knows how many will rise up to replace him?
Also, why should we relish in the thought of a man, any man, dying to face the eternal torments of hell? To say that UBL deserves it, but we don’t would epitomize self-righteousness and reveal how blind we really are to our own sin. The truth is, we all deserve hell. We all deserve judgment. But thanks be to God, who has lavished his love on us through his Son, Jesus Christ, that for us who believe upon and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, our due judgment passes to Jesus who took the punishment we deserve.
The death of UBL really only serves to remind me of one thing. We have momentary victories over evil, and they should be marked and remembered, but the fight never ends. The battle against evil will continue until Jesus Christ himself returns and sets up his righteous rule. I’m not saying that UBL’s apprehension and death is a bad thing; it needed to happen. But the tragedy of this, more than anything, is that millions of people will celebrate his death and declare that justice has been served, all the while unaware that one day they too will have an encounter with judgment. That day justice will be served either upon themselves, or it will have already been served upon Jesus Christ on their behalf. The question is which one of those people are you?