Justice: A Reason to Rejoice?

Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks has been killed. Last night President Obama declared, “On nights like this one, we can say to those families who lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: justice has been done.”

How do we respond to this news? Last night as I watched my New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies, fans in the stadium chanted “USA! USA!” Crowds were jubilant outside of the White House. The United States had finally found Osama bin Laden and killed him. Justice had been done.

As I watched Twitter during Obama’s statements last night, it was interesting to see what followers of Christ were tweeting. They were quoting statements like this from Jesus:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbort and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:43-45).

How do we respond as followers of Christ to the news of bin Laden’s death? How do we love our enemies yet rejoice that justice has been done? Is it even right to rejoice in the fact that justice has been done? This whole event raises interesting questions about justice and our response to governments enacting justice.

What do you all think? How should followers of Christ react to this news?


About joelnewton

I am a husband to Hillary, a father to Anna and Norah

Posted on May 2, 2011, in Church and Culture and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Ted Geistlinger

    I truly believe that what happened wasn’t justice, but rather revenge. I understand that he was a terrorist, but we as Christians should love everyone, especially those hardest to love. I don’t feel sorry for him. But ask yourself this, is it right to cheer at the death of Osama bin Laden? It isn’t right to say “God bless America” because God isn’t a murderer. God would not have cheered at his death. We shouldn’t either.

  2. I have mixed emotions on this subject. On the one hand, when I first heard about it, I was happy–not because Bin Laden was dead, but because maybe now our servicemen and women can come home. Maybe now our children can grow up without being constantly at war.

    But I also have been questioning my response as well, because how can I be glad that he is dead? And I think that comes down to the justice vs. revenge question. Part of that has to do with what’s in our hearts. But if he was responsible for the attacks on 9/11, then I do believe that it was justice. I believe that justice is the government’s responsibility.

    Sorry, long answer, but I’m sorting through the thoughts in my head as I write. I suppose my thoughts come down to this: I’m happy for the chance for the war to be done. Justice being done is the right thing, but it is very sobering at the same time, because of the gravity and the finality of it. And for Bin Laden himself and his family I’m saddened.

  3. Like the other comments, I am saddened that a life was lost. God loves everyone, even those who we think deserve that fate. But rejoicing over a lost life is not what God would do, and neither should we.
    On the other hand, maybe now our troops can begin the pull out from a war we should have never been in.

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