Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the death of thousands as the architect of the 9/11 attacks in NY, D.C. and Pennsylvania and responsible for thousands of dead around the globe, Christian, Muslim and every faith and no faith in between, is no longer in the land of the living.

I was watching the Mets play on Sunday night in Philadelphia when the stadium started chanting USA! USA! and the announcers mentioned that the news of OBL’s death must be spreading like wildfire throughout the stadium. It was a very strange and surreal emotion that I felt. I was uncomfortable, but sympathetic with the Philadelphia fans. I then heard there was celebrating in front of the White House and I remembered how appalled I was to see the Arab street erupt in celebration over the events of 9/11 and wished we had been more sober in our response. I went to bed with such mixed emotions.

Scripture in Proverbs 21:15 states the fact that “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” In Matthew 26:52 scripture makes clear that “all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Those scriptures not only state the facts they give a glimpse into why I was happy to see such an evil man brought to justice.

Even typing “brought to justice” brings to mind so many who think only God can bring justice and as such we are wrong to do anything to bring that about, but the fact is the prime instrument of God’s justice is government. In Romans 13:4 it says of Government “for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” so I am not concerned that a government went and pursued justice for those families who lost loved ones on 9/11. I wonder how I would have felt if a family member or friend died on that day.

This does bring me to the emotions that I felt today as I saw many at ground zero holding a prayer vigil. There was a somber mood of remembrance for those who were lost. I think this came closest to my feelings. I remembered a more innocent time, now lost forever, when we did not deal with an ideology of hate that wanted to kill us just because we are Christians or Americans. It is true that God says in Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” It certainly would have been better that OBL had repented and it certainly is sobering to think of where he is right now, but I have no deep sadness for his fate, he begged it. I do feel joy that many are free of his grip (although his influence has waned in recent years) just as I feel a sense of relief when any evildoer is apprehended and brought to account for their crime whether it be murder or rape or some other assault. It is just righteous. It is right to stop the evildoer. It is right to provide protection for the innocent. Remember, there are many in the Muslim world that are also trapped under his evil and hateful ideology.

I do feel a sense of gratitude as well for those who put their lives in harms way to protect us from evildoers and bring to justice those who would do us harm. Our military, our police and our intelligence community are part of God’s provision for us, “for it is a minister of God to you for good” and I do not want to be ungrateful to God for His provision, so while I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, at the same time I do want to give thanks to God for what He has done for us. He has done this for us in the United States, but He also overthrows the wicked to bring relief for the oppressed around the world. Judges 2:18 “When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.”

The bottom line is a deep sense of gratitude to God for His ongoing care for those who are oppressed by an ideology of hate and oppression and His deliverance from that. I am sad to see anyone go to hell, but God is sovereign and He rules in the affairs of men. I am always glad when good triumphs over evil. Thanks be to Jesus for your kindness to us.

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