We all have been talking about the death of Osama bin Laden and our memories of that awful day in September. I heard from a co-worker and what he said stunned me:
Thank you for your grounded demeanor on the day of those terrible events. 9-11 was a bad day for all of us, but you helped me through it.
Grounded demeanor??? Why would he think that? I was going nuts inside. I remember saying to the TV, “Kill them! Kill them!” and our administrator saying “Kill who?” as we didn’t even know who was responsible at that point.
Later on, I was stunned at my reaction. Not very Christian was I?
Ten years later, when I heard that bin Laden was dead, I was glad. Then I was sad for all that had led to this and I prayed. Then I was glad, etc. Other people shared my mixed emotions, posting both reflective and angry thoughts. The headlines that shouted “Rot in Hell!” especially bothered me. Who are we to judge even bin Laden for all eternity? Hate the sin, love the sinner, all of that? Hard, isn’t it?
The psalms certainly speak to this. In a serendipitous moment, the reading in my daybook was Psalm 58, wherein the person roars about those who have done evil to the people:
O God, smash the teeth in their mouths; break the jaw-teeth of these lions.
The psalmist believes that God will punish such leaders. Then the just shall rejoice to see the vengeance and bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
Ever timely, those psalms.
Especially the last line: There is a God who is judge on earth!
God, not us. We don’t have to like what bin Laden did, of course not, but may God help us not to step over that line into hate. Jesus apparently meant that love your enemies stuff.
God, this is hard. I wrote the terrorist’s name on my daily prayer list. That was not easy, but I am trying. Watch over us all these days, as always.