I awoke to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed at some point whilst I slept. A myriad of emotions swept my heart and mind all at the same time: relief, fear, and sadness were among them, but I can honestly say not joy. Is it good that justice has been served? Yes. I'm sure for those directly affected by the events of 9/11 this feels good and right. Finally, the one responsible for all that loss has been stopped. Is our world a better place with Bin Laden dead? Yes, although there is likely an up and comer more than willing to take his place. Even so, the fight against terrorism is important and this represents a big victory over a very elusive enemy. But having said that, I am now going to risk sounding very self-righteous and comment that the shouts of jubilation and even joy at Bin Laden's "burning in hell" have deeply troubled me. As I perused Facebook this morning, I found some of the comments deeply disturbing. It felt quite vengeful and blood-thirsty. Is our quest for revenge what drives our joy?
And in the midst of it all a couple of breaths of fresh air...two comments and one scripture quote really hit me:
'Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.' I do not read this as a call to not pursue justice but rather to pursue justice in a Godly, non-vengeful manner. We have to figure out how to bring justice to situations where great harm has been done without perpetuating the very violence and terror that struck us in the first place.