A still of 2004 Osama bin Laden video

Image via Wikipedia

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  After nearly 10 years and the most costly manhunt in human history, the perpetrator of the mass killing of 9/11 has been sent to the grave.  He stands before the one true God, awaiting his eternal fate.  Today, many Americans feel some vindication—that justice has triumphed.

As I watched the news of Bin Laden’s death last night, a variety of emotions swirled through my heart.  I admit my first reaction was I was glad they finally got him.  He was obviously a man driven by violence, responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people around the world.  He had become the poster child of everything that is wrong with radical Islam.  He was a man driven by hatred for Jews and Christians, committed to a world dominated by Muslim ideologues.

But as my initial emotions were processed, I felt some sadness.  As hateful as this man was, I felt great pity and sadness for him.  In the blink of an eye, he went from one of the most powerful men in the world to standing before the one true God, awaiting his eternal fate.  Now, none of us are established as the final judge of a man’s eternity—that is left to God alone.  But the evidence sure points to Osama Bin Laden spending eternity in hell.  He worshipped the false god of Allah and was responsible for the countless murders of innocent people.

My sadness made me reflect on how many times I have not reached out to someone who does not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior—neighbors, friends and even family members.  The times when I had a chance to share the good news of eternal life for those who put their faith in Jesus, but did nothing.  The times over the past 10 years when I actually hated Osama Bin Laden and all he stood for—but never really prayed for him.

It causes me to really reflect on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  I am to love, not hate my enemies.  I am not to hope for their destruction; but rather pray for their repentance and salvation.  And how many times I fail to do so.

No doubt, Osama Bin Laden was a very difficult man to love, yet Jesus calls me to do so.  What am I to make of this as a Christian?  Maybe this:  Just how easy I can still give in to my flesh and have hatred in my heart.  Yes, I am glad he’s dead.  Hopefully the people of the world are a little safer today.  But I also grieve for him and all those still being deceived by the enemy—those with hard hearts toward God—and the eternal judgment that awaits them.  But my sorrow for Bin Laden’s eternal fate has not yet caught up with the human joy I first felt at hearing he was dead.  And that shows me just how far I have to go yet in becoming a man of holiness that Jesus calls me to be.