Yesterday morning I slept in. It was a holiday here. No school = no work for me! As I started my slow paced morning I sat back on my bed with my laptop and my computer and began emailing and chatting. “Go to CNN. Breaking News!” One of my friends instructed me. I was going to but I was finishing an email first. She hurried me along by saying, “Obama is about to speak. Bin Laden is dead.” WHAT? That got my attention. Click to CNN. Pick up the phone to inform Brittany – who lives next door and also likes to stay up on what’s going on. Our internet here can be rather fickle and so we decided to each try a different site. I tried CNN and also looked on FOX. Britt watched on the White House website. Mine worked so she came here. We watched about 3 sentences and then it froze. Great. We decided to run to grab lunch and come back and watch the video once the speech had concluded. Thank you youtube and google news. By that time, there were 4 of us gathered around my laptop. It was surreal.
I’ve read a lot of people discussing how they felt when they heard. I don’t know how I felt. I wasn’t thinking about feelings. And I certainly wasn’t feeling celebratory. I watched the people in the park outside the White House with their flags and their partying. I guess I sort of understood why… but not really. I didn’t feel that way. Not at all. I was really was just thinking about the information. I just wanted to know. I wanted to understand. It felt very somber… or maybe solemn is a better word?
I thought about Bin Laden. He was just a person, really. He clearly figured out how to be influential, that’s for sure. He didn’t use it for much good. I want to know why. I know the truth that the world is full of evil… but why him? What is his story? I want to know how he became who he was. Because the truth is, we’re all sinful and have the potential to make one terrible choice after another.
I’ve been reading a lot of posts from varying perspectives. Some of them make me sad. Some of them I really appreciate. I’ll share some of the ones I appreciated momentarily but first…
I have a friend here (a local) who loves to talk to me about world issues, often even stuff he’s not supposed to know about – really. He sat by me at dinner tonight and he asked me if I was celebrating Bin Laden’s death. Before dinner I had read a facebook status aptly quoting Martin Luther King Jr.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
I was glad these words were fresh in my head as I used them – well, a simplified version – to explain my thoughts and feelings. He was SOOOO confused. “But I saw the people having parties in the streets in America. You are an American.” Something distracted our conversation and our attention went to someone else… but I’m sure, knowing my friend, that the discussion will continue another time and I’ve been thinking about it. I am an American – and a proud one, in many ways. I promise. But I try not to make that the first viewpoint from which I see the world. My most important citizenship is in Heaven and, honestly, after that I try next to see the world as a human being – equal to (and valuing) all other human beings – and then as an American.
And thinking about my post yesterday and how Paul longed for others to know Jesus… how he would have taken their place in hell if he could… Shouldn’t I, as a follower of Christ, have anguish in my heart – even for those who are supposed to be our enemies?
There’s a lot I don’t know and a lot I don’t understand. But I’m trying – to learn and grow in knowing and loving Jesus.. and knowing and loving the world He created. And these are just (some of) my thoughts. Here are a few other people’s thoughts I have appreciated:
Ragamuffin Soul started a conversation by asking his reader’s “How should Christians respond to Osama’s death?” He’s at 241 comments and counting. I haven’t read them all. There was definitely an array of perspectives.
And from there I clicked over to a man who discussed his struggles with how to respond. I appreciated his honesty and reflection in saying: “To me, this just strikes me as the kind of thing that has to happen for now. For a time and world stuck with the effects of sin and evil. For me, it serves as a reminder that we still live in a world where this sort of thing is necessary – and that’s just one of the reasons it’s not home. These are the versions of justice we’re stuck with for now, i get it, and so be it….but I don’t have to enjoy it. Do I?”
And I also clicked over to this blogger (Anointed with Grace) who reminded readers that: “… if Osama Bin Laden spends eternity in hell, it won’t be because his sins were worse than mine—it will be because he didn’t accept the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ.”
I suppose my conclusion of the day is that this breaking news reminded me that we are in a very broken world… and we are all very broken… and we are all in need of much grace.