The first thing that I do when I get up in the morningwellokayit's not the first thing. It's not even second, because the second thing that I do in the morning is that I make myself my two cups of cappuccino. Okay. The THIRD thing I do in the morning after I get myself out of bed is that I sit down to the computer. It's something that I do for myself, really. I take a few minutes in a quiet house to touch base with friends around the world. I read what they're up to. I write, usually, just for a few moments, and I wake up slowly with my caffeine.
On May 2nd, 2011, it was a bit different. Sitting down at the computer with my first cup of cappuccino, I switched on the computer to discover that Osama bin Laden was dead. That was such an eye-opener, I almost didn't need the caffeine. (Almost, I said) So I sipped my coffee and read the stories with interest. Here's the deal: I don't feel bad that he's dead. Not at all. He was a terrorist and responsible for the death of many. The news that he was unarmed didn't bother me unduly either. I mean, most of the 2,819 people who died on September 11th, were not armed. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. I was not surprised at his death, and I doubt he was, either.
The thing that I found disturbing was the celebration of his death. Americans dancing and shouting in the streets, singing patriotic songs. To me, it's simple. I think back to the days of 9/11 when I'd seen pictures of jubilant extremist Muslims dancing in the street, celebrating that the 'evil empire' had been sucker punched so completely and so dreadfully. It made me sick. It made me sick to think that people could be so heartless as to rejoice at the death of thousands. It made me wonder what kind of God these extremists worshiped that they could see something like this as a sign that their Allah was on their side, even as moderate Muslims watched on with a horror that mirrored our own.
It's been over a decade since those horrible days, and now bin Laden is dead. Like I said, I don't feel bad about it.
But you know, we pride ourselves on being 'one nation, under God'. It's printed on our money: "In God we trust." People can really get their dander up about God being taken out of our schools, out of our governmental offices. There are all sorts of patriotic e-mails and editorials about this topic. (Google them. You'll find them by the score). There's also the question that begs to be answered: "What would Jesus do?"
I'm not a Biblical scholar, but this thing I do know. Jesus Christ would not have been dancing in the street singing songs and celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. I know this thing for a fact. When the soldiers came to Gethsemane to take Him to His own death, Peter seized a sword and lopped off a soldier's ear. Jesus rebuked his disciple, and He healed the soldier's wound.
'...It's been over a decade since those horrible days, and now bin Laden is dead. Like I said, I don't feel bad about it.'
I know that no wounds are being healed as a result of those celebrations.
I believe that the world has got to set down the gasoline can. We all have to quit adding fuel to the fire. There is a huge difference between not grieving the death of an enemy, and celebrating that death. If we are going to call ourselves Godly people, we are held to a higher standard. If you doubt this than you need to look at Romans 12:17-21. Matthew 5:39. Luke 6:37. Romans 2:1. Matthew 7:5. The list goes on and on because God had a lot to say about how we should deal with our enemies.
I am not a perfect person, nor do I pretend to be. I do believe that 2000 years ago, God down from heaven to teach us by His perfect example. Those lessons were important enough that He died in the teaching of them. I can only show my gratitude by struggling to follow His example. Most everyone that I know struggles to follow those teachings as well. As the song goes, 'We fall down. We get up. We fall down. We get up.' And that's the beauty of it, right there. We struggle to our feet, because God calls us to do so. If we are not struggling, well, then, I think we have no business forwarding the e-mails railing about God being taken from our schools. We can't complain that we do not find him in our government offices. If we refuse to carry Him in our own hearts and minds, if we refuse to display him in our own lives, how on earth can we expect him to be displayed anywhere else?
Debby Hornburg lives in Scandia and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org