The death of Osama Bin Laden raises many questions, but the one that has dominated the evangelical web pages is how we Christians should respond to the news.
For purposes of this question, I don’t want to discuss pacificism, just war, or capital punishment per se. Rather, the focus of the question is what is the proper Christian response to his death.
To make the discussion fair, I’m going to post the verses cited by both sides in the various articles and emails I’ve read, in no particular order.
(Pro 21:15 ESV) 15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
(Pro 11:10 ESV) 10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
(Pro 24:17-18 ESV) 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
(Pro 25:21-22 ESV) 21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, 22 for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
(Psa 58:6-11 ESV) 6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths; tear out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD! 7 Let them vanish like water that runs away; when he aims his arrows, let them be blunted. 8 Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime, like the stillborn child who never sees the sun. 9 Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns, whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away! 10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Mankind will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.”
(Job 31:29-30 ESV) 29 “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him 30 (I have not let my mouth sin by asking for his life with a curse) …
(Mat 5:21-22 ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
(Mat 26:52 ESV) 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
(Rom 12:19 ESV) 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
(Rom 13:3-6 ESV) 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
(Psa 137:7-9 ESV) 7 Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” 8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
(Eze 18:23 ESV) 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?
(Eze 33:11 ESV) 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
(Mat 5:44-48 ESV) 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
To add to your thoughts, here’s a thoughtful (as always) post from John Mark Hicks.
Now, no fair arguing, “That may be what the Bible says, but I feel …” Only scripture-based arguments are allowed.
I’ll admit to mixed feelings myself. I’ll be very interested to read your comments.