Rejoicing in the Death of Our Enemy

Many are rejoicing over the violent death of our enemy.

They are dancing in the streets (even some who are too young to even really appreciate all this).

Some are saying things like “Rot in Hell”, even on the front page of their newspaper.

Does this sound familiar? Does it sound anything at all like the way that certain people, who are identified as our enemies, might speak and behave? In fact, does it not sound exactly like they have behaved.

I’m reminded of how, 146 years ago, Lincoln reacted when the South lost the Civil War. He asked the band to play Dixie. He understood, it seems, something that many of us USAmericans, and even those of us who might say we follow Jesus, forget. We forget about Proverbs 24:17, as I’ve already seen posted today. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice,”

For those of us who follow Jesus, we have a much higher call, a much higher standard, don’t we.

From Matthew 5 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they?  And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they?  So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Are we even trying to do that?

Scripture quotations from the New English Translation at bible.org

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3 thoughts on “Rejoicing in the Death of Our Enemy

  1. Denden says:

    Hi, Thanks for this article. I was led to your blog through spiritdaily.org. I reposted this on Facebook. When I heard of the “enemy” being killed and saw people rejoicing, I have ambivalent feelings bec exactly I don’t think this is a Christian way of reacting. I didn’t like it when I saw how a lot of Arabs rejoiced at the fall of twin towers in 2001, and I had wanted to see Christians giving good example to them now when it is our chance to show what true Christianity is by not rejoicing but instead praying for the eternal repose of his soul. This could be a moment of great evangelization by example.

  2. Jody V. says:

    Peter,

    I’m so glad to read this post from you . . . I have been feeling very conflicted today about not ‘celebrating’ the death of Osama Bin Laden. I feel un-American and a little ashamed to admit I’m not rejoicing at the news.

    As a Christian, I am thinking of Bin Laden’s family and friends who I’m sure love and grieve for him. I also take into account that his terrible actions are the result of his religious convictions and his own interpretation of Islamic scriptures. He believed he was not committing murder, but taking action for his people with blessings from his Allah.

    Because his views were so opposite from ours and because of the terrible things he has done he is hated. I understand this, but I will still pray for his soul to find peace. I believe that is what Jesus would do.

    Jesus preached grace, love, forgiveness. As Christians, we are taught (hopefully) to pray for our enemy and FORGIVE. The United States was founded on God’s word and as Christian Americans we want to keep God in our schools, sporting events and on our money. Shouldn’t we also keep God in our HEARTS?

    I am still deeply saddened by the loss of life on 9/11 and for all the deaths of US and allied personnel . . . yet I can’t bring myself to ‘celebrate’ the death of Bin Laden. When the “enemies” of the USA witness the celebrations at Bin Laden’s death – doesn’t that make the USA appear evil? We’re no better than the Iraqis dragging dead US Soldiers through the streets. Instead of forgiveness, we seek revenge. That’s not God’s desire for us; it’s human nature. It also appears to non-Christians that we are not living in Jesus’ word.

    I will continue to pray for peace amongst all the peoples of the world, including terrorists. If we truly believe that prayer can vanquish evil, we should be praying instead of celebrating!

    Thanks for being brave enough and solid in your convictions to write this message. I’ve been waiting all day to hear SOMEONE remind us of Proverbs 24:17!

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