“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Should We Rejoice Over the Death of the Wicked?

As most of us already know, Osama Bin Laden was killed in a covert operation by the United States on Sunday. Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist, responsible for plotting the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 1999, and countless other acts of terror. Many people throughout the world celebrated his death.

However, should Christians respond in jubilation? Since the news of his death, many Christians have spoken out against the celebrations of Bin Laden's death, condemning others for taking part in the jubilation of death. Should we rejoice when evil people are killed? Let's consider the examples in God's Word. As David and Saul returned home after the defeat of the Philistines and their champion Goliath, they were met with much rejoicing and celebration. I Samuel 18:6-7 says,
"As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, 'Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands'." 
The people rejoiced that the battle had been won, and that the enemies of God had been destroyed.

In Exodus chapter 15, Moses and the children of Israel rejoice when the army of Pharaoh was swallowed up by the Red Sea. Moses writes, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea." (1) The people had spent years enduring the slavery and persecution of the Egyptians. After watching Pharaoh's army drown into the depths of the Red Sea, the people praised God for His salvation.

When Queen Esther saved the Jews, the city rejoiced (Esther 8:15-17). The evil Haman, who had planned a genocide against the Jews, had been hanged on his own gallows. The people rejoiced that justice had been done. They follow this celebration with more rejoicing in 9:17-19.
Finally, Proverbs 11:10 offers probably the most convincing example of celebration over the destruction of evil. "When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness." Civil societies must recognize the difference between good and evil. Celebrating the defeat of an evil foe is a reward for God's just retribution. Regarding this passage, The Reformation Study Bible notes, "There is a proper rejoicing when the perpetrators of evil, corruption, and human misery are destroyed." I think Bin Laden embodied those words.

I believe the Bible says that a response of jubilation and rejoicing is appropriate when evil is defeated. As Christians, we should be saddened that the wicked are perishing to face eternal damnation. But we should also rejoice that God is sovereign and just, ruling over the affairs of men, and destroying evildoers.

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