Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Laden and the Wake of Love

Today all people want to know is my reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden. There are people celebrating in the streets and people confused about whether information is legitimate. If you haven't heard, American Special Forces stormed a mansion in Pakistan last night, shooting and killing a resistant Bin Laden. Others in the home were also killed. Bin Laden was buried at sea in "somewhat" traditional Muslim manner of being buried in a sheet (I don't think the being dropped from a helicopter into the sea fits typical tradition).

The standard reaction I've heard has been celebratory shock. There is a triumphant air of accomplishment. People continue to ask me what I think. Including a local reporter, who wrote a story for the local paper.

My initial reaction is a mixture of relief and grief. Obviously there is a relief that someone who seeks the death of others no longer can hurt others. However, I am concerned about the celebratory exuberance of people. Should we as Christians celebrate death? Death is a consequence of seeking to be our own God. Death is a consequence of turning to our own ways. I am trying to think of a time when we are encouraged to celebrate death, unless it is our own self-sacrifice and baptismal death.

If believing Christians celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden, then how are we any different from Osama Bin Laden celebrating the death of thousands of people in the 9/11 attacks? Is the difference which side you are on? Seems like a strange place to stand. It is especially sad because misinformed people will assume that they are cheering on the side of God.

It seems to me that death is something to lament. I think about the family of Osama Bin Laden, who suddenly must deal with the loss of a husband, father, son, brother, cousin, etc. Many of you will read that and think that I am crazy. Why feel sorry for a murderer? Why attempt to consider the situation of an enemy?

I would like to see Christians lead the way in celebrating life. The God who gives life is love. What we as children of God are to be known for is our love. Celebrating the death of an enemy (while having Biblical precedent) does not seem to imitate the way of Jesus. Christianity will be worthwhile if followers of Jesus show love for enemies. At times this is a tough love for the good of humanity, but more often than not it is a self-sacrificing love that defies logic. Much more would be gained by our unconditional love than by our victory party at a funeral.

The wake of love might call us more to mourn with those who mourn. The wake of love should cause us to grieve that death is ever considered a victory. Ultimately we believe in the God of love who turns the funeral wake into eternal life.

7 comments:

lunette de soleil prada said...

this is a nice post,thank you.

shabeer said...

The word "Islam" is closely related to the word "salam or silm" which means peace. Muhammad, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, himself had a very peaceful nature, was extremely tolerant, and highly protective of the non-Muslim minorities living in the Muslim state.

However, there are times when states find war inevitable, but Islam only permits war in specific and dire circumstances. It keeps warfare at a level of mercy and respect for the enemy that no other army has been able to reach. The Prophet sometimes had to fight for the mere survival of his people and message, but once their security was ensured, he immediately reverted to peace and diplomacy.

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