Monday, May 2, 2011

OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD!!

Osama Bin Laden is dead and people all over the United States are reveling. They are waving our flag and chanting "Hey, hey, hey, goodbye" from a pop music song in the streets. As an American, who was shocked and saddened by the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks, just like everyone else, I admit my first thought was - Good.  Justice has been served.

Justice, I agree is necessary, but I stop short of advocating vengeance and taking pride in violence.  As a human being, and as a Christian, I believe I am asked to dig a bit deeper than a surface need for revenge.  I can quote scripture after scripture that tells us, as followers of Christ, to rise above the retaliatory feelings we all have.  It's not that we don't have the feelings, just because we are Christians, but we are told to leave the vengeance to God.

I just can't stomach any more jubilation at death and I can't help but wonder how much harm the revelry is going to cause.  Violence and blood-thirstiness only begets more violence and thirst for blood.  The vicious cycle just keeps spinning and spinning. It is bound to spin back to the US at some point; that is just the way of war.

My peace-loving mind has a very hard time reconciling war of any kind.  I do understand that we cannot just allow people to attack with impunity, but in the end, no matter who started it, too many people are left dead.  No matter how we view the person who has died, that person was still a human being, and was someone's, brother, uncle, cousin, etc. and those people (fellow human beings) are left to mourn.

Why is it okay to revel in someone's death simply because he was someone 'we' hated?  Does it not upset us when we hear others overjoyed at a victory over the US?  Their view is we are 'their' enemy, so they rejoice in our weakness.  The sword of vengeance cuts both ways, and it just keeps cutting, and cutting, and cutting.

Today, I am not jubilant.  I am somber.  I don't feel like celebrating and waving a flag of victory in my yard.  Does that make me un-American?  Not patriotic?  Does it mean I am turning a calloused heart towards all of the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11/01, not to mention all of those who have died since in an effort to right the wrong that was meted out that day?  I don't believe so.  I love my country and I love and respect its soldiers and mourn for those who have died, as well as the families they left behind.  My heart aches for them.  What it does mean is that I dislike death and bloodshed and I feel no shame in admitting that I mourn also for the lives lost on the other side of the enemy lines and the families they left behind.

I also mourn for the enemy because I am sad that they wasted their lives hating others.  I have no hatred in my heart for them because I don't want to waste my life on hatred.  Jesus never wasted his time hating people.  That was not his message or his mission.  So, as for me, I am going to follow his example and his command as he laid out in Matthew 5:43-47: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

I realize that everyone has their own thoughts, reactions and beliefs; they have to follow their hearts as they see fit. I mean no disrespect to anyone. These are simply my thoughts, as well as my reasons for my feelings and my reactions.

Peace.