Last night as Taylor and I watched raptly the news, awaiting Obama's announcement, I felt a lot of emotion. I felt the need to jump up off the couch and bounce around for joy. I felt the need to call my military friends and thank them for their service, and to ask how they felt. I remembered the feeling of visiting Ground Zero in NYC, and the somberness that surrounded the place. Taylor and I got out our nicest champagne glasses and made a little toast. (With milk! ha!)
But I felt something else too. A little nagging in my heart at the strangeness of rejoicing at death. And not the kind of rejoicing that I experienced when my grandparents passed away and went to heaven, where I know I will see them again. This was a vengeful sort of rejoicing. Not that I felt a hatred toward this man--I actually didn't. What I did feel was a hatred and a sadness for the acts that he committed, and a mourning for the loss of life that he orchestrated.
So all of this raises the question--is it right, as a Christian, to feel a righteous vindication after the death of this man? Ezekiel 33:11 says: "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" 2 Peter 3:9 says: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
I know that, yes, the Lord is patient and is taking his time with us because he wants all to come to repentance and to faith in him. Even the very chief of sinners. Just look at Paul in the Bible. But I also know that the Lord has a righteous anger against those who oppose him and his people. For example, think about the miracle of the Red Sea. The Israelites were allowed to cross, and Pharoah's army were swallowed up and killed by the sea. This was a miracle done by the Lord. I don't imagine that he took delight in the death of these people--but it was necessary to accomplish His purposes.
I do not profess to have all the answers. I don't even profess to know my own feelings for certain about the issue. It is just something for us all to consider. Click HERE for the link to a post that a friend of ours, Ann Lowrey Forster, wrote on the topic. She writes from the perspective of teaching her three small children about what happened, should they ask.
Whatever the right answer in this situation, I am thankful that our troops' morale will be boosted, and that we once again are united as Americans, if only for a brief while, and that justice has been served for the families of the victims of 9/11.
God bless America.