Earlier this week Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Considering the wickedness he’d orchestrated in his lifetime, it’s not hard to see why strong emotions were evoked from so many people. An interesting question I saw discussed frequently on Facebook related to how Christians should feel about this man’s passing; in particular, should they rejoice over it? Let’s see what the Word says:
- Mat 5:44 Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (also Luke 6:27, 28)
- Pro 24:17, 18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him.
- Ezek 33:11 “As I live” says the Lord GOD, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (also 18:23, 32)
If God doesn’t rejoice over the death of the wicked, and we’re to be like God, then how can we rejoice over Osama Bin Laden being killed?
In Rev 18:20 an angel exhorts Christians to rejoice over the destruction of evil Babylon. This almost looks like Christians are being encouraged to rejoice over the deaths of the wicked, but John MacArthur says they’re “to rejoice not over the deaths of those doomed to eternal hell, but because God’s righteousness and justice will have prevailed.”
The horrors and torments of hell are so unimaginable we shouldn’t even rejoice over our greatest enemy experiencing it. To be like God is to not take pleasure or joy from the suffering of others, even those we feel deserve it. We can rejoice over the manifestation of God’s justice and judgment though, and in seeing His righteousness prevail; for my part I am thankful to have seen those revealed from the Lord this week.