Monday, May 2, 2011

On Loving Your Enemies

I've known his face for years. I've known to hate it, to fear it, to shudder at the sight.

Osama Bin Laden. Enemy of America. The face of evil.

I used to pray that they would track him down. I remember hoping they would kill him. I thought I'd be safer if he were dead.

And now he is. Bin Laden's dead, and my first reaction was to rejoice. My natural inclination is to dance over his body.

But if I do that, if I hate my enemy, if I dance because he's dead, I'm no better than the men who took down the two towers.

We serve a God whose nature is always to be merciful. We serve a God who cried, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." We serve a God who heals the blind, who raises the dead, who brings life to dry bones.

I'm not saying we can overlook what Osama did. God is just, and in His righteousness, He cannot allow unforgiven, unrepentant injustice to go unpunished.

But I am saying this: It's wrong for me to delight in the death of Bin Laden. It's wrong because I am every bit as much a sinnera degenerate, broken sinneras he. It's wrong because I should rejoice with truth, not delight in evil.

So yes, I'm glad America is a little bit safer. And yes, I'll probably sleep a little bit easier. But this death is not a victory. Christ came to redeem lives, all lives, even the lives of my enemies.

I'll close with a few words from Derek Webb's fabulous song "My Enemies Are Men Like Me."
I have come to give you life
And to show you how to live it
I have come to make things right
To heal their ears and show you how to forgive them

How can I kill the ones I'm supposed to love
My enemies are men like me
I will protest the sword if it's not wielded well
My enemies are men like me


  1. I agree—we can rejoice about justice, but not about death.

    P.S. Are you a pacifist or just a Webb enthusiast?

  2. Jack, I'm not sure about all circumstances, but I omitted "Peace by way of war / Is like purity by way of fornication" on purpose.

  3. You see, this is where I have problems concerning the concept of sin-I can't help but laugh when putting the names "Jane Brannen" and "Osama Bin Laden" in the same pool...haha! You two are just alike!