On Sunday my wife and I returned home from dinner at the home of friends and turned on the TV. We discovered that, a few hours earlier, Osama bin Laden had been killed by US special forces and we were glad. No, glad is not a strong enough description. We were delighted, even ecstatic. I was glad to know that he was gone. It made me think about the song of joy the people of Israel sang at the death of the Egyptians after they crossed the Red Sea. It is not just me, but everyone I know is rejoicing. On Facebook, friend after friend celebrated his death. There were no regrets, only joy. Yet, for all of this, I pause to wonder how rejoicing over the death of a fellow human being, the death of—dare I say it—a fellow child of God, fits into my Christianity, my view of God.
We live in a world that once was perfect. Then Satan intruded, bringing incalculable evil, pain and destruction. For most of us, regardless of our religious persuasion, we suffer daily from the ravages of sin as we do things we know we should not do, things we do not want to do, things that Paul so elegantly describes in Romans 7: 15- 20
“I do not understand what I do; for I don't do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. Since what I do is what I don't want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. I know that good does not live in me that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. I don't do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. If I do what I don't want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me.”
There are, however, some individuals who, for reasons that we mostly do not understand, completely embrace evil, whose whole lives are committed to doing evil and encouraging others to do evil. These people are openly and proudly disciples of Satan, even if they claim not to be. They are openly and aggressively committed to doing evil, hurting fellow children of God. Even worse they are dedicated to encouraging others to do evil, vile, hurtful things to other Children of God. It is clear that Osama bin Laden was one of these disciples of Satan. He had power and money that he used to promote the cause of Satan. We know from Scripture that, while rare, it is possible for created beings to reject God so aggressively that they become irredeemable, not because of what God has done, but because of their own choices. It is a terrible and fearful reality that when these individuals walk the earth the only way to stop the evil they spawn is to destroy them.
Reflecting on the necessary, justifiable, even joyful death of bin Laden gives us a better understanding of the terrible impact of sin—the true nature and heart of Satan. It helps us understand why at some point God will have to cry out “enough” and bring death to everyone who is opposed to him. The death of bin Laden is important for two reasons. First, it brings about a measure of justice for his victims and, to one degree or another, that is all of us. More importantly, his death means that he will never again commit acts of evil against innocents. He will never spend his time, his energy, and his money on the death of others and this makes me rejoice. This is why, when the final death of Satan and all of his followers happens, there will be rejoicing in the hearts of all of those faithful to Jesus. I can only imagine that, on that terrible and joyous day, even God will be rejoicing over the death of sin while crying for those who chose evil over good, and death over life.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3139