LONDON — The
diversity of comments following the death of Osama bin Laden was evident on
most any Facebook news feed.
Some pitied him.
Some cheered for the shots fired. “This is a great moment for
every American,” one noted.
But Greg Turner* winces at the thought.
“I confess mixed feelings,” said Turner, a Christian leader in Central
Asia. “On the one hand, there is no doubt that Osama bin Laden was
a wicked man, and there is no injustice in what happened to him.”
But God says in Ezekiel 18:23 that He has no pleasure in the death of the
wicked, Turner added.
“If God takes no pleasure in this, then we can commend the justice of bin Laden’s
death, but we should never gloat about it,” he said. “Walk wisely, brothers and
sisters, and take every opportunity to share Jesus with those on their way
Drew Carson*, a Christian leader among the peoples of Northern Africa and the
Middle East, said Christians can respond in a way that makes clear who they
“As people of (God’s) Kingdom, our responsibility is not to respond like a
human being but to respond with a Kingdom response,” Carson
said. “That way, we won’t just see the moment, but through the moment to the
The real issue involves mission, Carson
“We should advocate for justice, but we are not on a justice mission. We are on
a grace mission. What we do and who we are is from a whole different
perspective,” Carson said. “None of
us deserves grace, but He’s giving it and wants to give it through our lives.”
It’s not that the military can’t respond in carrying out justice — Romans 13
says the government has the power of the sword, Carson
said. “As followers of Christ we want people to have justice, but our job is
more the grace job.”
Natalie Shepherd* takes that job seriously. She prayed for 10 years for bin
“Today I still carry a picture inside my Bible of another top terrorist wanted
by the United States
government,” said Shepherd, a Christian worker in the Middle East.
“His photograph reminds me to pray for his salvation and the salvation of his
family. And when I look at him, I am reminded that God excels in doing what seems
impossible to me. His face reminds me that my God is full of immeasurable
grace, delighting to bring even the hardest of earthly criminals into His
sheepfold even today.”
Saul is the perfect example of that, she said, explaining that if God
transformed Saul into Paul — who reached much of his part of the world with the
Gospel in his day — He could transform others for the same purpose.
“I challenge followers of Jesus to pray and fast for the salvation of people
like Osama bin Laden who are still alive today so that if and when we hear of
their deaths, we won’t party because justice was done but because grace
triumphed,” Shepherd said.
*Names have been changed.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Thomas is an International Mission Board
writer/editor based in Europe.)
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