Setting aside the accuracy of the report and how reliable it is, lets move on to the question of how Christians should respond? Someone has met a violent end. Where do people who are followers of a Holy God understand this kind of reality show?
On one side you have the people with the gift of mercy. They want to focus on the tragedy of a human life being taken. They have a point. Christianity, unlike Islam, does not endorse violence and killing as a standard fall-back position. We are taught to turn the other cheek, love our enemies and to forgive.
There is a verse in the Love Chapter that often pops into my mind in situations like this,
(1 Corinthians 13:6 NASB) does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;This reminds me we are not to celebrate the failures or misfortunes of others, even if deserved. We should not have a party when sinners suffer. Since I am spending a lot of time in Proverbs I have also noticed that this thought is not original with Paul but has been God’s eternal policy,
(Proverbs 24:17 KJV) Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:So a block party is not in order.
At the same time we should not be unhappy that this has happened. Turning the other cheek is a way in which we are to respond to the everyday slights we face but God does not live in an ivory tower. Remember what Paul said,
(Romans 13:3-4 NASB) For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.The government has the authorization of God to take the sword and go after the “one who practices evil.” If you accept that Jesus said turn the other cheek then you must also accept that having the military hunt down a piece of murdering baggage is also okay. If you are one of those people who believe that Osama was just misunderstood or the product of a difficult childhood then go back and take Theology 101 and read about the sinful nature.
Do we have a Biblical equivalent? How about the death of Goliath? He was a violent challenger of God’s people and mocker of God. When David took down the giant you will notice that the nation of Israel did not express shock at such violence or weep for Goliath’s mother.
(1 Samuel 17:52 KJV) And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.I am sure the shout was one of triumph and celebration. Then they went after the enemies of God with extreme prejudice.
So don’t walk down the street giving high fives or dance in the parking lot. Just have an inner satisfaction that evil is punished and sometimes we actually see it happen.
homo unius libri