musings on Osama’s death

I realize this post is not something that I usually would blog about, but it’s something that I had to get off of my chest, and this seems the most appropriate place to do it.  I’m really sorry if you disagree with putting this kind of thing on this blog.  I really hope you don’t stop reading, but if you do, I understand.  God can be very controversial, but that’s kinda what I love about him.

Would Jesus have killed Osama?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate America or support terrorists or anything like that, but the recent killing of Osama by the U.S. has left me questioning what I feel about the whole situation.  The greatest commandment that God has given us is simple (or so it should seem): LOVE.  I know that bin Laden and Al Qaeda did not show very much love at all in all of their terrorists attacks.  In fact, I think that they are the complete opposite of love (and also God).   However, I just don’t know how I feel about the huge celebration that is happening over his death.

It all comes down to some questions, how many deaths must a person cause for themselves to warrant being killed?  Are all sins really equal in God’s eyes?  What does Jesus have to say about this?  All questions which really don’t have solid answers, which makes this whole situation really confusing for me.  I don’t really know how to react because I don’t really know how Jesus would react.

I do know that Jesus put up with A LOT of terrible, horrible people when he was here on earth.  Just after the word that Jesus had been born reached King Herod, he ordered all the boys ages 2 and under in Bethlehem be killed (Matthew 2:16-18).    The Pharisees and Sadducees were constantly doing everything they could to prove Jesus wrong and convince people that they were the ones who knew and upheld the Old Testament law.  There was also Saul, who violently preached against Jesus and was responsible for deaths, such as Stephan’s (Acts 7), who, of course, later was converted and renamed Paul.  And I’m sure there are many others, but these are a few that stuck out immediately.  Jesus never killed any of them.

I’m not saying Osama didn’t deserve death.  He most certainly did, but the fact is, ALL humans deserve death.  It’s so tricky to work around this truth.  Clearly, most people in the world have not been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people like bin Laden was.  But, the question I keep coming back to is, “What does God think of Osama?”.  Based on the words of the Bible, I would have to say that in some way, God does love Osama.  I know that, as humans, we really can’t understand why or how.  But, based solely on what God says, I would have to say that is true.  That is why I don’t really know how to respond to the recent events.  I want to be happy because justice has been served (and we know that our God is a just God, he will punish those who do not repent).  Osama took so many innocent lives and has left a trail of pain and suffering wherever his work was done. But, it also leaves me wondering if killing is ever right.

I’ll leave with a quote from Shane Claiborne: “When Jesus said love your enemies, I’m pretty sure He meant don’t kill them.”

This reflection is in no way meant to downgrade the U.S. or President Obama.  It is merely the thoughts of a 20-something trying to discover what life means to her.


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7 thoughts on “musings on Osama’s death

  1. This was a great post, Jess, and I admire your honesty. I have to say that I do agree with you, but I would temper that with questioning how long do you let someone go on killing innocent people before it’s wrong NOT to take any action. If talking to Osama were an option, I wholeheartedly believe that we would have exercised that option, but his entire mission was to murder. Does God love Osama Bin Ladin as much as he loves you an me? Absolutely. Is killing him a good thing? I would say maybe not good, but a necessary evil. C. S. Lewis reminded us not to confuse a necessary evil with good.

    The fact is that we did not ask for this fight and he misterminded the attack on innocent life and while killing him, in my mind, isn’t what brings justice, but the fact that he no longer can hurt others and is what brings justice.

    I’ve had very strong feelings about that sentence written by Claiborne. I think it’s true, but you can only take it so far. I can think of a couple million Jews who wish that someone had done whatever it took to stop Hitler before he slaughtered them. I think you would really benefit from reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work. He was a German Theologian living during WWII and was an extreme pacifist. However, AGONIZED over the fact that millions were dying, but felt it was wrong to kill Hitler. However, he ultimately came to the conclusion that it was for the greater good to protect innocent life and kill one man than to let millions and millions die because good men did nothing. Bonhoeffer actually headed up a team of assassins to kill Hitler, but they were caught and executed.

    Take heart, dear friend. I think it’s right to feel the way you do, but I think it’s also right to do what is necessary to protect innocent life. As awful and horrible as war is, the fact is we live in a fallen world and it will always be present.

    • I tried to take care to recognize that point when I said “It’s not that Osama didn’t deserve death” and mentioning that it was wrong of him to take thousands of innocent lives. I guess what I was trying to get across was that I was just a little disappointed in some of the very over-celebratory things that were being said. I didn’t really make that clear though. And yes, what Claiborne said can’t be applied to every single situation, he’s only human. I also don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I said! Thanks so much for valuing my opinion enough to let me into your head as well. This is such a tough situation to react to so I openly welcome any kind of other insight. Love you friend.

    • Also, I love the way that you write. I know you are have an English degree, but I love the way that you get your point across with eloquence and grace. I always feel like an awkward 12 year old when I write and I always feel like I don’t do a good god representing exactly what I mean.

  2. i enjoyed this post and i’m having similar feelings of not quite knowing what to feel. yes, justice is sweet, however i think the sweetest form of justice is redemption, not death. before i even read your post, i too thought of saul as a comparison. what if the church had killed him before his conversion? i guess at this point all we can do is rejoice in god and trust that he will continue to work all things to our good and his glory.

    • Thanks for the feedback… I love what you said about just rejoicing in God and trusting that he will continue to work! It really is all we can do with this situation.

  3. i couldn’t agree more pesut. I think that all of us sin on a basic level, because we want things to be about us. That’s what killing is… thinking that your life is more important than someone else’s, which some how gives you the right to kill another person.

    I don’t know if this was God’s plan for him to die by our hands, but it’s just another clear reason why church and state are two very different and separate things.

    love you.

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