- He was clearly guilty, by his own admission and by much evidence, of masterminding the deaths of thousands, not only on September 11 but in many situations both before and after that date.
- One of the God-given tasks of government is the safety of its citizens and to be an instrument of human justice (Romans 13:1-5).
- The U.S. government with the help of other countries had, for ten years, been searching for bin Laden to bring him to justice, as with any mass murderer on a "most wanted" list.
- The team that found him was not tasked with assassinating him, but with apprehending him. He was killed when he resisted and fought back, trying to kill the team sent to apprehend him.
- I see his death as a legitimate act of the military tasked with apprehending a dangerous criminal and dangerous enemy not only of the U.S., but many others as well.
- While on a personal level, we should not rejoice over the fall of an enemy (Proverbs 24:17), on a global level I believe it is right and "Christian" to rejoice when justice triumphs over evil. The same Jesus who forgave his enemies will return to triumph over them. We are called to have compassion on the widows and orphans and to work against those who oppress them - shall we not rejoice when oppressors fall and the oppressed are freed from their suffering?
- Bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, and rejoicing in the suffering of others, including an enemy, poison our own souls and harden our own hearts and do not reflect the character of Christ. We should avoid these at all costs. But rejoicing at the triumph of justice over evil is not the same thing. Bin Laden was a man who had submitted his life to the destruction of others. He worked against everything true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable that we are called to stand for (Phil. 4:8). He was used as an instrument of evil, much as Hitler and Hussein and others of the same mindset. He had to be stopped, and he was.
I am relieved that bin Laden is no longer a threat to others. I believe that there was nothing unjust about his death. I also believe his whole life story is incredibly sad - following a religion other than the gospel, growing up to hate others so fiercely, being so deceived as to send hundreds of followers to their deaths to carry out his orders, and now dying, apparently without repenting. But at the same time, like everyone else in the world, he is without excuse (Romans 1). I'm sad for his wasted life, the hurt he inflicted on others, and for sin in general, but I'm not sad for his death.
I'm thinking also of King David's reaction after hearing of his son Absalom's death. Absalom had been plotting to take over the kingdom, and the soldiers who were involved in chasing him down were doing their duty. David was so upset about his son's death, though, that the soldiers were in danger of feeling demoralized and unappreciated for doing their job. I agree about feeling sorrow for a wasted life, like I said, but I don't want to overlook the incredible victory over evil that this is as well, and the fact that many lives have been saved with the elimination of bin Laden. I thank God for the courage of our military, CIA, FBI, and everyone else involved with the war on terror for the last ten years, and I pray for their protection as they continue their task.