What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

02 May 2011

We Can Do Better

As you may have noticed, it is my usual practise to avoid major events in the news, controversies, and anything else that might make the tone of Cheekyness a little too serious for me to handle. Also, I like to keep my Biblical thoughts to the weekends, when (presumably) my readers are already in a spiritual frame of mind. Today, I'm going to break all those rules. Yes, I'm giving in to the rest of the blogosphere and writing about Osama Bin Laden.

If you missed it, just go to Google. I'm sure someone there will be happy to give you all the details. My concern today is not the event, but rather our reaction to it. Specifically, the reactions of Christians. I concern myself with my Christ-following brothers and sisters because we've voluntarily taken on the name of Jesus, and our actions reflect on him. And we've voluntarily put ourselves to a higher standard than those who haven't named Jesus as Lord of their lives. So if you aren't a Christian, this post is probably not for you (although you are, of course, welcome to read to the end), and what I have to say certainly isn't directed at you. You must live your life as you see fit.

But my Christian friends, we have taken on Jesus' name. We have chosen to live to a higher standard. And so it was with a heavy heart and mounting disappointment that I watched the reactions of some of my Christian friends scroll across my Facebook page last night. We serve a God who has specifically said, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the LORD will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him" (Proverbs 24:17-18, NAS). And who also said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44, NAS). It is not right, my friends, that we should put on such a public display of happiness, nor exhort others to praise God, when an enemy of our nation is killed. You can't help the emotional reaction-- I'm not saying that any feeling of relief or happiness that first came over you when you heard the news was wrong-- but you can control what you say. And what you type.

In short, we had a chance last night to show that our hope is not in this life alone. We had a chance to be the light of the world. And we blew it. We can do better, brothers and sisters.

A lovely story came across my Twitter feed right before I went to bed: A 9/11 widow was on an airplane when the announcement came through. The tweet told about how the entire cabin was comforting this woman in her moment of emotion. That is the kind of story I can get behind. That is the kind of thing that it would have been great to see more of.

I realise that many of you feel differently, and probably want to say so. While I don't object to disagreement, I ask that you keep comments clean and civil.

May the LORD bless you and keep you; may he lift his countenance upon you and give you peace.

21 comments:

Loralie Hall said...

Heavy and meloncholy, but appropriate thoughts. Thank you.

Kerri said...

Wonderful post - thank you. I deeply agree with you. I've got a variety of reactions on FB - having a theologian as a brother brings in a different perspective. I know how capable of hate, judgment, and cruelty I can be; I'm so thankful for God and his grace.

Laura said...

I'm so glad that I found your blog. I was trying to put together some thoughts this morning to write about. You said it so much better than I ever could.
I try to make it a practice not to talk too much about politics or religion...everyone has their own opinions. But if you're going to walk the walk then talk the talk...

mybabyjohn said...

We knew they would eventually get to him and I'm sure he knew it too. His damage has been done in the world and he will face inevitable punishment for it. Not for us to judge or to rejoice in the passing of another human being. He was as much a product of his environment as we are of ours.

charlieschurchofchrist said...

I am so with you here. Atta girl Su, it's not the popular stance to take but I think it's the more Christ-like one.

Lydia said...

Thank you so much for this. I was sick at my stomach last night at the glorification of death and killing. We as christians have a responsibility to pray for the lost and love them anyway, Osama is no different.
The christians of the first century didn't like paul when he was killing them, but eventually they accepted him as their church leader when God changed his heart. This is the attitude we need. Love and forgiveness are the way to show Christ, not hate and bitterness.

Karen Peterson said...

I understand completely what you're saying. But I feel a little bit differently about that verse in Proverbs. Sometimes it's okay to feel joy when evil is eradicated.

From 1 Samuel 18:6
"And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick."

Tiger85 said...

I have to admitt that I first felt relief that he was dead. Then I realized that this man has met the Lord God and had to answer to him. I then felt sadness. What this man did was horrible and very hurtful. I am not without sin and therefore I try not to judge. Although it is hard. I was watching the news on this and there were people celebrating in the streets. I was in shock. It reminded me of when the Aquida (might be spelled wrong sorry) danced in the streets after 9/11. Everyone has their own right to believe what they want and I mean no disrespect to anyone for my thougts and opinions. =)


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Colene Murphy said...

I had the same heavy heart when I got online today. The whole thing is sad. All the death, hate, and celebrating both is just sad to me. And I am, for one, grateful they are honoring his Muslim beliefs in the sheet wrapping and all that. At least we have that to be proud of ourselves for, rising up and being the bigger person there. I was listening to the radio this morning and the girl had a good point, I mean, I don't have much hope that it's true, but she said: What if, in one split second, he felt sorry? Or repented? Or ANYTHING, who are we to say he is damned? Why can't we hope he found his way instead? I know people personally felt the loss he caused are feeling justified but, celebrating his death makes us no better. It was unfortunate when they did it, it's unfortunate now.

Su said...

@Loralie: There seems to be a special on melancholy today. :(

@Kerri: Well said!

@Laura: Thank you! And yes, I agree: if you're going to take on the name, you have to take the responsibility that comes with it.

@mybabyjohn: Good point.

@Charlie: And coming from you who takes on controversies all the time, that means a lot!

@Lydia: Very well said!

@Karen: And I also rejoice at the safe return of our soldiers, just as the Israelite women. But it's one thing to feel happiness/relief/patrotism, and another to start a street party. I'm not convinced that Christians should be taking part in that.

@Tiger: It's hard, to not have that reaction. But again, I don't think reactions are controllable, but actions are. And I agree-- plenty of people in the US behaved last night in exactly the same way that other countries did on 9/11, and the US was so disgusted then that people could glory in destruction in that way. How is this behaviour any different?

@Colene: Excellent points. I didn't know about them honouring his beliefs in that way-- I'm glad to hear that.

Michelle in a shell said...

I'm in the same boat as you. When I saw all the ridiculous "celebrating" I couldn't help but wonder about how this sense of cockyness was also part of the reason why the original situation happened a decade ago! People are too fond/eager to play God- more than I'm comfortable to be around.

Thank you for this post.

Julie Hedlund said...

I am glad to see someone else I follow take this subject on. I wrote about the same thing on my blog today, from the perspective of having been in D.C. on that day. There is nothing joyful or celebratory about any aspect of this.

erica and christy said...

This is a beautiful post. Well said, Su. I don't have anything to add, but thanks for writing this. Christy

Trisha said...

I'm not religious at all, but I have been disappointed (yet not surprised) by the reactions I've seen to the news. I may not be religious, but I am a person with morals and I find it fundamentally WRONG that people are out there celebrating the death of a human being. No matter what sort of human being he was.

Su said...

@Michelle: Yep. It's too easy to get caught up in the moment instead of thinking first.

@Julie: Wow. You definitely have some firsthand expertise.

@Christy: You're welcome!

Su said...

@Trisha: Oops, we posted at the same time! I agree-- it's wrong. I was none too pleased at my fellow students setting off fireworks in celebration last night, either, but I'm only getting after one group at a time. :/

a runners' life said...

Christian or not, people should not be rejoicing in someone else's death. It's wrong on so many levels and I too have been shocked at the reactions of people.

Su said...

Very true.

Jenny said...

I agree with all of the above comments that expound on your post: Anyone's death is never cause for celebration. Also, anyone who dies who has not accepted Jesus is in torment in hell now, and forever separated from God and His love. I could never feel glad about that- it's just awful to think of.

I'm newly following your blog, so I hope to catch up on your archives later and get to know you better. Meantime, may I completely snitch your idea of posting a "Today I'm Grateful For" list?? :)

Congrats on finishing the A-Z challenge too!

Su said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I definitely agree. And of course! The more gratitude, the better!

Jenny said...

Quick question: Do you use a particular method for how long your gratitude list runs? I was thinking of letting it go the month and then the last day copying the list and making it into a post (for archival sake) and then starting the list fresh with the next month. What do you think?