I’ve seen all sorts of reactions to Osama bin Laden’s death as it was announced late Sunday that U.S. Navy SEALs killed the 9/11 mastermind in a firefight during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I’ve been reflecting on my own sense of relief that he had been killed.
Justice has been done, and for that we can be thankful for the victims sake. Our military accomplished a chief function of government, as God had intended… an avenger as Paul instructs in Romans that our rulers are a terror for bad conduct, (Romans 13:3) and that they are a servant for our good… however, “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is a servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer,” (Romans 13:4, ESV).
The SEALs were God’s instrument of God’s vengeance on Osama bin Laden, who has finally been brought to justice.
Having gratitude for justice served is one thing, celebrating in the street is quite another. It is an inappropriate reaction and I’m disappointed by the display as there should also be a sober reminder that as believers Bin Laden like you and I was created in the image of God, and that God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked, (Ezekiel 18:23).
John Piper had some good thoughts on this:
My suggestion is that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself not a pleasure to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. The death and suffering considered for itself alone is not his delight.
Rather, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God has pleasure in is the exaltation of truth and righteousness, and the vindication of his own honor and glory.
What do you think?