Bin Laden is dead and my family is rejoicing.
Don’t tell me that, if I am a Christian, what we’re feeling is wrong.
People have been quoting Scripture all over Facebook in the hours since the news broke, particularly verses about not being glad when your enemy falls. I’ve read that the word “falls” in the passage quoted could mean “falling into sin.” If that’s the case, Bin Laden did that a long time ago.
I came across this passage in The Message, and though the “blood in goblets” reference is a bit disturbing, I loved what it said:
“The righteous will call up their friends
when they see the wicked get their reward,
Serve up their blood in goblets
as they toast one another,
Everyone cheering, “It’s worth it to play by the rules!
God’s handing out trophies and tending the earth!” -Psalm 58: 10-11, The Message
Yep. It’s worth it to play by the rules — something Osama and his minions never did. God handed our military a big ol’ trophy and my Almighty Father is still in charge of tending this earth.
How does that not make you want to shout, “Hallelujah!”?
(I know this is long, but please keep reading…)
Sure, Christians prefer dramatic conversions to eternal sentences to hell, even for the vilest of sinners. But man plays the predominant role in that. Grace is always there; but we must choose to reach for it. If a man’s heart is hardened toward the truths of God, if respect for life is a foreign concept, if hatred and desire for dominion rules his every action and he doesn’t repent before his time is up, that man has sealed his own fate.
As Christians we know the amazing work of grace and forgiveness that God has wrought in our own lives. We want others to experience the same.
I get that. I do. Christians should always prefer mercy to judgment, because it’s what we received when we didn’t deserve it.
But evil can only run from God for so long until he says, “Enough!” and pays a man what he’s earned.
After the initial high-fives and victorious shouts, Donnie said to me quietly, “You know, when 9/11 happened, as a military man, I felt responsible. I was part of what was supposed to protect my country from that. And we failed. I failed.”
What happened yesterday was personal for him, and for every soldier that’s served since then. The mastermind of the attack had to be brought to justice. It was beyond frustrating that it took so long, but sweet closure finally came.
Please, don’t underestimate how precious that is to every person who lost someone or something beloved this past decade because of the actions of Osama Bin Laden.
Though I will never forget the icy horror of watching 9/11 unfold, I cannot speak personally about the devastation of having lost a loved one that day. My heart breaks for them, yet I know I cannot begin to fathom the pain.
But I do know what it’s like to send my husband into a war zone and not know if I’d ever see him alive again.
I know what it’s like to look into my firstborn’s terrified, tear-filled brown eyes during the farewell ceremony when the commander stated that we were sending our loved ones into “grave danger.”
And then the gnawing pain in my heart during the subsequent year of trying to comfort a little boy who lived in constant fear that his beloved daddy was going to die.
I know what it’s like to welcome home my soldier, hold in my hand the shrapnel that just missed him, and marvel over the fact that his body was still whole.
And I know the agony of rebuilding a life with a man who came back looking like my husband, but inside, was no longer the one I sent away.
We still battle that one daily, as a matter of fact.
Later, I found out how terrifyingly huge it was to support hundreds of other families as they, too, sent husbands and sons and wives and loved ones to war. I counseled people through divorces, through almost losing their children due to the mom not being able to cope with the stress of deployment. I saw so many families shattered because of this war.
I learned the solemn pain, heaviness and awe of attending a fallen soldier’s funeral, to look at that flag-draped box knowing how violently he’d died and wondering what little remains could’ve possibly made it back here for burial. And at that same funeral, felt the bristling anger of hearing a politically-motivated pastor rant and rave that this war was useless, that this brave man died for nothing. Never mind that the soldier’s own family stated all he’d ever wanted to be was a soldier, that he died doing what he loved —the pastor completely disrespected the fallen by basically stating this was a fight that our American military could never win.
So, yeah, vindication? I’m feeling it. So you’ll just have to forgive me if I feel like celebrating along with countless others who lost something dearly beloved to that wretch of a human being.
Last night, Eli probably celebrated most vividly out of all of us. He put on Donnie’s army cap, a National Guard t-shirt, and drew an American flag to wave in the air. He said, “This is SO good, Mom! Now another 9/11 will never happen again!”
Ah, the innocence of a child. I hated having to tell him that there have always been bad guys, there always will be those who hate our freedom and wish to harm us. That didn’t change with Bin Laden’s death; as a matter of fact, we need to pray harder for the protection of Americans and our allies everywhere because our enemy’s not happy about what we did. The battle between good and evil will always exist.
“But sweetie,” I said, looking into his beautiful, stormy-gray eyes, “Today is proof of what’s always been true. It might sometimes take a while, but good always wins in the end. Always. And it always will.”