Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; - Proverbs 24v17
Back in May we were in a friend’s home in West Tennessee. We had been in their church and were back watching something on the television when I checked Twitter. Reuters had tweeted that Osama Bin Laden was dead so we switched the telly over to the news and then waited what seemed like forever for President Obama to appear. When he finally did he confirmed that US troops had indeed killed Bin Laden.
In many ways that was good news. The acknowledged world leader of Muslim terrorists was finally gone. The head of the beast had been cut off.
But then news of world reaction started coming in. We saw crowds in major cities in full party mode. Instantaneous celebrations broke out all over the US. The next day and in days to come many Christians joined in the celebration.
That caused me to feel a bit unsettled from the very start. The scenes reminded me of the scenes from Islamic countries after 9/11. I wondered if we were really any better than we are in the west. If we can rejoice and party over death do we treasure life any more than the Islamic countries? In the past this kind of celebration was reserved for the end of conflicts, not to celebrate death.
It certainly does not reflect a Christian perspective. No matter what else here was a man, in all his wickedness, who died without Christ. Was it a necessary death? Probably. Was it a good thing to happen? Probably. But a time to rejoice when an enemy falls, to be glad when he stumbles?
Is it a cause to celebrate and party? Hardly. It is a sobering reminder of the impact of sin in this world and of the world’s need of a saviour.