We ought to rejoice in justice (Psalm 58:10) but not in death (Ezekiel 24:11).
Here are a few articles of cultural commentary, that I have found helpful in wrestling with the issues. What about you? What do you think?
Understandably, news of Osama bin Laden’s demise at the hands of U. S. Navy Seals provoked cries of celebration. The mastermind of terror, even against civilians (indeed, against fellow Muslims) has been brought to justice. But what kind of justice?
There are really two questions to answer: 1) Did Osama bin Laden deserve to die? 2) Did those who killed him have authority to do so?
Perhaps a recognition of this kind of Justice would be less likely to result in patriotic celebrations in the streets and more likely to produce a kind of somber, humble gratitude for the common grace of God. I am not righteous, but God is.
God’s emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are God-like.
In response to Osama bin Laden’s death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.” That is true.
It is also true that God does delight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.
But, as is always the case, we are left with a sense that a higher court is still needed. Christians know that Osama bin Laden escaped the reach of full human justice and a trial for his crimes, but he will not escape the judgment that is to come. Bin Laden will not escape his trial before the court of God. Until then, sober satisfaction must be enough for those still in the land of the living.