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Cheering a Death

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Posted 05-02-2011 at 08:10 AM by Jeff Westover

The galvanizing moments of the morning of September 11th are never to be forgotten. I remember well just exactly where I was standing when I saw the first images and what my immediate thoughts were.

The same can be said of last night when word was received that the mastermind of 9/11, Osama bin Laden, was reported to have been killed by American forces in Pakistan.

My immediate, knee-jerk response was one of joy. The monster is finally gone.

I thought first of my friend, Robert, who was in the World Trade Center.

Like many of you, I never officially met Robert. I knew him only online but I had known him for a number of years. We were two adults playing a kid's game and we did it 9 months out of the year together. In playing fantasy baseball we competed against each other, trading players and giving each other a hard time. During the year we would exchange emails and occasionally we'd share other things about our lives. At Christmas we exchanged cards.

We were friends.

So when he came up missing and we connected with his family is trying everything possible to find him -- or evidence of him -- it was because we knew Robert and loved him as a human being.

We never did find him. And with his family, though we didn't really know them either, we mourned.

And we wanted justice.

Today we have just a small degree of justice.

True justice and complete justice will forever elude us, unfortunately. That is the work of God, in my view. It is something we cannot fully achieve on our own.

Nevertheless there are glad hearts today at the news that Bin Laden is dead.

Last night, spontaneous celebrations broke out in Washington and New York City.

To some, such human reactions are inappropriate. To celebrate with smiles, flags, song and words of revenge would seem to make us no different than those who cheered the deaths of 3000 on 9/11 in other countries.

And I would be the first to agree that perhaps some are over doing it.

The death of a human being -- any human being -- is nothing to celebrate. Like it or not, even Bin Laden was a child of God, misguided though he was.

But I would be careful in misinterpreting the celebration this day.

As I consider my friend Robert, I wonder if he isn't celebrating in his way, too, wherever he is.

After all, he left a beloved family behind -- a wife, and two sons. What hell has been their lives in his absence? What real joy is theirs this day? After all, what really has changed for them?

What's changed is that the bad guys lost and that the good guys eventually made good on a promise. What's changed is that somewhere perhaps there is another terrorist-in-embryo who might think before taking on the rights to life of an entire nation of free people.

There will always be bad guys. And, unfortunately, there will be those like Hitler or Stalin or Bin Laden to try it all again. The fight for freedom is never completely won.

The price paid for that freedom comes in blood. But it need not be our blood alone that pays for that price. In fact, it should be more the bad guys' than our own, if you are to believe Patton.

So this day we celebrate -- appropriately -- not the death of a human being. We celebrate the cause of freedom.

When Christ died there was celebration by the evil forces that took him. But the greater celebration came when he arose from the dead.

That same promise, by the way, is given freely to ALL MEN -- even bad ones, like Bin Laden. That is a Christian fact. It might surprise many, even Christians, to know that.

What does that mean in the case of Bin Laden?

What does it mean to give one so evil a resurrected body? What does it mean to give one of Bin Laden's victims, my friend Robert, a new body?

These are works of God. His purposes are alive here -- even with one so flawed and so evil like Bin Laden.

And that, my friends, is something worth celebrating.

That Bin Laden is gone -- from here, from now, from amongst us here on earth at this time -- is no doubt something worth celebrating.

But so too is the fact that where he is now has continued existence and purpose in God.

The likes of Bin Laden are the hardest to forgive. And God commands such of us. For me, human that I am, it is easier to forgive Bin Laden where he is now than where he was just a day or two ago.

Where he is now he can do no harm. And his fate really is, at this point, up to God.

And that is worth celebrating too.

Death is indeed nothing to cheer. But sometimes, knowing what we as Christians know, it is.
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  1. Old Comment
    Thank you Jeff. How you echo the feelings in my soul and the souls of others is amazing. I must admit that some comments I have read about the death of Bin Laden have left me, well a bit of a raw nerve. It is not that I liked the man, he was a monster, but as you say, to celebrate the [I]death of an individual SO VEHEMENTLY[/I] well that is something else. I grieve for all of those who died because of the works of this monstrous individual. As weird and inappropriate as it may seem or perhaps is, I also grieve for his family. I don't know if they were close or anything, I just know that if one of my relatives did what he did and then died, perhaps deservedly so because of it, I would grieve. Thank you again, Jeff. May God bless your friend, Robert, and all who are with Christ this very day in paradise. Peace.
    Posted 05-02-2011 at 11:12 AM by caninemom3 caninemom3 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    trackrebel's Avatar
    I applaud You on this blog. Perfect said!!! You are really good with words Jeff!!!
    Posted 05-02-2011 at 12:21 PM by trackrebel trackrebel is offline
  3. Old Comment
    momnan30's Avatar
    Well said, Jeff. God bless our military for their unselfish sacrifice to facilitate this event.
    Peace to our 911 families.
    Posted 05-02-2011 at 03:32 PM by momnan30 momnan30 is offline
  4. Old Comment
    MerryBells's Avatar
    Thank you, Jeff. I wondered if I was the only one who felt bad about celebrating because someone was killed, even if he did cause so much grief and loss. I hope this event brings some sort of change for the better.
    Posted 05-03-2011 at 11:16 AM by MerryBells MerryBells is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Meceka's Avatar
    Well said, Jeff!
    Posted 05-03-2011 at 02:22 PM by Meceka Meceka is offline
  6. Old Comment
    elf bazaar's Avatar
    I completely agree, well said!!
    Posted 05-04-2011 at 08:14 AM by elf bazaar elf bazaar is offline
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