Osama Bin Laden, Eternal Punishment, and Pitiful Leadership

I’m a few days late to the party on this one, but I’ve found myself convicted about this issue. My friend Justin wrote a blog on Bin Laden’s death yesterday and it finally kicked me over the fence.

I’m not gonna try and tell you how to feel about any of this, but here’s where I’m at.

There are a large number of professing Christians out there openly rejoicing in the fact that Osama Bin Laden got what he “deserved” and is presently burning in Hell. They’re posting all over the internet, waving signs, throwing parties, and carrying on.

I love you, but need you to understand that you’re failing miserably as leaders.

No Pleasure in Death

A snapshot of the character of God and His heart for non-believers…

“Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 33:11

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people […] that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 1-4

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:7

Unconditional Love

We have a painfully infinitesimal understanding of God’s love. That’s why a statement such as “God loves Osama Bin Laden every bit as much as He loves you or I” would probably make your head explode. But its the truth.

We want God’s love to fit inside of our human definition, which is cute but inherently flawed. Our love is conditional whereas his is unconditional. We love people as long as they don’t hurt us. He loves people in spite of their hurting Him.

Jesus came and died on the cross to pay the debt for all people who would place their faith in Him. The truth of God’s Word is that His desire is for all people to repent and come to Him. If Osama Bin Laden had done just that, then we could rejoice with the angels in his salvation.

That last statement really wouldn’t sit well with a Pharisee.

Gospel Truth

God is holy and just; His judgement is perfect, yet His desire is that we all would be saved through Christ. [John 3:17] There is hope for even the most vile sinner; the most despicable person you can imagine. If they turn and run to Jesus they can and will be saved.

We who were dead can be made alive in Him. That’s the beauty of the Gospel.

As Christians, our mighty task is to pursue a life that looks like that of Jesus. Ask yourself an honest question in light of Scripture and God’s character. Would the same God who so generously sent His son to reconcile us to Him actually rejoice in condemnation?

Lead with Light

Back to the comment about poor leadership. As Christians, we carry the responsibility of representing our faith to the world. You may be the only contact a non-believer has with the Church. You may be the only person they know who can teach them about Jesus.

If you celebrate death and condemnation, what are you teaching them about God. What are you teaching them about Jesus? If your message is that God is a vengeful deity roaming the skies and mercilessly striking down the wicked, then you’re missing the point.

You’re preaching a false gospel. Go read your Bible.

Truth

Start telling the truth. The invitation for salvation is open to all who would hear and accept it. There are broken and hurting people out there who mistakenly think they are unworthy of God’s grace. Stop feeding them the lies that would confirm that grievous error.

Stop celebrating an event that Christ Himself would undoubtedly weep over. Tell people about the real Jesus; the God of grace and truth, justice and mercy, love and forgiveness. That’s the message that the world needs to hear. That’s the message that will save us all.

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