The Death of a Terrorist and the Love of God

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.
(Proverbs 24:17)

I am glad that one who perpetrated so much evil can no longer do so. I cannot rejoice in death. I believe Jesus died for all. I believe He is heart-broken when anyone dies in their sin. I pray God will move and peace will be known and soldiers will no longer be in harm’s way. I pray God will watch over those who give their lives for good and freedom. I pray they would be able to come home and know peace.
(my Facebook post from 11:00 on May 1, 2011)

I write this blog the morning after Osama Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. I am relieved that one so bent on evil is unable to do harm any more. At the same time, I have been seeking to live not by my own reasoning but by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. That is not to say my thinking is in line with God, only that I long for it to be.

The challenge I believe we face is acknowledging our first allegiance to the Kingdom of God is often impacted by the emotional connection to our national identity. To seek to live into the heart of God (which breaks for those willing to reject his love, do evil, and die in their sin) is the greatest effort we can make. It calls for a radical love of all persons. And at times like this it will put us at odds with other Americans.

To say we must love our enemies does not mean we don’t care what they do or who they hurt. To love others does not mean we do not seek justice. To love those who do evil is to live in heartbreak for their choices. To love them is to hope that they will turn from their evil ways, repent and know life in Jesus Christ.

I knew a young man who was convicted of capital murder. I was one of his pastors. He has since been executed by the state – justice was done. I remember still the front page of the small town newspaper showing a picture of his parents as the sentence was handed down. They were crushed. They never asked that justice be set aside. They grieved over his actions and the hurt he caused another family. But, they loved him. To the very end they loved him. But the heartache of what his life became never stopped, even after he was dead.

I wonder if God’s love isn’t something like that. I wonder if to know the heart of God is to know a heart-wrenching ache for all creation and the choices of the ones to whom He has given life. I wonder because I long to know and live in the heart of God.

Holy high-five to you,


4 responses to “The Death of a Terrorist and the Love of God

  1. Thanks Mike for sharing your thoughts on this. It is all we aspire to be…like Christ!


  3. Jodi Alsobrook

    Thank you for these words. This is something I personnally struggle with often. I can give you more details on that at another time. When I do hear about someone that has caused the pain of other (murders, drunk drivers, gangs, ect…) I pray not only for the victims, but for the person that cause the hurt and their families. The pain that one person can cause extends far beyond the victim……..

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