The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death last night came suddenly and without warning. After nearly ten long years, many had wondered if the world’s most wanted man would die of old age. Instead, he died as he lived, violently, shot and killed by highly trained special forces of the United States.
It is appointed once unto man to die, but few people actually know how or when their end will come. Still, Jesus’ warning in Gethsemane regularly rings true when it comes to despots, dictators and terrorists. “For all who draw the sword will die by the sword,” He warned Peter and by extension, us, too.
It’s counter to a Christian’s nature to celebrate the killing of another human being. However, mature adults can draw a distinction when it’s the death of a terrorist responsible for the murder of thousands.
But what about our kids? How do we help them process this monumental global story?
The protracted nature of this worldwide war against terrorism forces parents to constantly communicate complicated things to our kids. Children who were too young at the time to fully appreciate the terror of September 11, 2001, are now old enough to understand why Bin Laden’s demise would be welcomed closure. However, for kids who weren’t even alive back then, how do we help them understand the sight of Americans seemingly celebrating a death?
It’s a teachable moment. How much you share, and how you share it, is a matter of personal judgment. Personally, I would keep it simple and speak in very broad terms. I would share with them that Osama Bin Laden was a very bad man who had done very evil things. Many nations and people have been trying to find him in an effort to prevent him from doing more harm to innocent people. I would stress to a child that he was given multiple opportunities to peacefully turn himself over to authorities. But he was defiant and his heart appeared to have hardened.
I would then share with them the story of Jesus’ words of warning to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here was our Lord about to be led to His death and yet He urged His disciples to not lash out against His executioners. A person will often reap what he sows. History teaches us that violent people tend to die violent deaths.
“Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. There is contentment in realizing that justice has been served in the case of Osama Bin Laden, but for a Christian, there is no joy in the fact of a soul being permanently and forever separated from God.
I join millions of Americans in expressing my gratitude to our military’s ongoing effort to keep America safe from terrorism. And I am especially eager to learn more of the brave team that was dropped into Bin Laden’s compound. Those courageous men were someone’s sons, husbands and fathers. I thank God for them and that they are safe and unharmed.
In the end, we know that both the righteous and the unrighteous perish in this life, but only those who believe in Jesus Christ and place their trust in Him will be present with the Lord. We can’t explain it, we simply must have faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for our sins and whosoever believes in Him shall have eternal life.
Have you made that choice? Are you living for God today?