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Some Thoughts on Bin Laden

May 5, 2011

 [This is an editorial I just wrote for an upcoming issue of Insight magazine. I thought I'd share it on the Web, too.--Tom.] 

   As I write this editorial the big news is the killing of Osama bin Laden. The guy was the image of terrorism. If someone mentioned something about a terrorist, the first picture that would pop up in many people’s minds was his.

   Almost a decade after 9/11, U.S. forces caught up with him. After a 40-minute fight, Osama was killed. As an American, of course, this has been on my mind. I remember what happened on 9/11 very well. What American who was around back then doesn’t? And now the face associated with that date and with terrorism is no more. What to think of it all? H’mmm . . .

   Yes, I am an American. Yes, I remember 9/11. Yes, I believe in justice. I do not support terrorism of any kind. Where does my Christianity fall into play here?

   Well, there’s nothing wrong with being an American and also being a Christian; I just remember where my true citizenship is (Philippians 3:20). Regarding 9/11, we Americans have been told to “never forget.” OK. I haven’t forgotten. But in what ways am I remembering it? Regarding justice, I believe in it—nothing wrong with that, right? God doesn’t have a problem with justice. And regarding terrorism—how in the world can I, as a follower of Christ, endorse any kind of terror?

   There is debate about what the proper Christian response should be toward the killing of Bin Laden. Do I have the answer? No. But just to spur some thinking, let me share some of what’s going through my mind:

   • I’m sorry that another person on this earth had to lose their life. I’m cool with justice. It just stinks when a life is lost. I don’t think God cheers over the death of one of His creatures.

   • What actually constitutes justice—temporarily (here on earth) and permanently (on a spiritual and eternal level)?

   • It’s too bad that, from all outward appearances, Osama bin Laden didn’t accept Christ. Imagine the impact that would have had on this world.

   • God hates the sin but loves the sinner.

   These are just some of my thoughts right now. What do you think about all of this? Walk with Christ and talk to Him about it.


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