The death of Osama Bin Laden is a momentous occasion because of his role as the antagonistic front man in the terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans ten years ago. Most of us will recognize this as a watershed moment in American history, and there is an unmistakable emotional connection to the demise of Bin Laden to the infamous events of 09.11.2001 that many of us are reliving today.
We should note, however, that while I have no problem with the righteous expression of patriotism in the same way that the United States rallied together as a nation after the attacks, this is not the time to gloat or feel joy over this event. Yes, justice was served, and there is the beginning of some sense of closure for the families of the victims of the attacks, but that is as far as we should go over this issue. These words may ring hollow or be dismissed by many, but I was reminded that God truly sees everything (including our own behavior) by a post from a friend on Facebook:
Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or the Lord will see, be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him.
This approach is likely the exact opposite of how many will react; however, this mindset is the proper response. It removes the emotional aspect of the response and allows you to review and keep matters in the proper perspective. While this may seem to be an impossibility with such an emotional topic, the presence of God in our lives, through the enabling of the Spirit, helps us to keep a Christlike approach to life’s ups and downs and fast-changing events.
You may also recall that the United States was subjected to ridicule after 09.11 by our enemies with protests and flag burnings. In spite of arguments that we did not need to be involved in the Iraq conflict, our overall response to the terrorist attacks was rooted in righteousness.
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will stand up;
though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.
The “revival” of the American spirit in the aftermath of the attacks was unlike anything I had ever seen. You would like to believe that we could have maintained that energy and resolve over time and recognize the importance of Almighty God in their lives. We rallied together for a moment, but we lost the fervor over time, only to see it revived for a brief moment today. This is exactly why we need to see a greater focus of Jesus Christ as a part of our daily life. His presence calms our emotions, smooths our bumps and heals our bruises. He gives us the ability to approach life with the proper balance through the provisional wisdom and understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Today is marked by many as a day of vindication for what occurred long ago. While we had the right to pursue Bin Laden, may we always remember that the Lord is the one who corners the market on vengeance…
If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
My prayer is that, after all of the initial noise, emotional responses and fast-paced commentary over this issue, people will slow down long enough to take into account that God is never unaware of the events of this world, and that he values our focus on Him in all things. Our focus is not to jump for joy over Bin Laden’s death; instead, we should seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance as we move forward, for we are in the midst of more than just the ongoing threat of terrorism on American soil. We are in the midst of a fight for our very livelihood that is unlike any other time in our history. Are you paying attention? God certainly is.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines. For more content, please see melvingaines.com and melvingaines.blogspot.com.