Friday, June 09, 2006

Rejoicing at the End of Evil?

Paul Schafer posts this over at The Boar's Head Tavern:

Y’all, As Christians, are we supposed to rejoice with our nation when our nation killed al-Zargawi? As Christians, are we supposed to rejoice that one of our physical enemies of Christians and Jews is dead? I am looking for some biblical understanding of this. My main point is, am I suppose to rejoice?

My response is yes. Anytime that evil is destroyed or reduced, we can be thankful. Biblically the story of Esther springs to mind as we consider what happened in response to the genocidal intentions of Haman. Once the plot was brought to the king's attention and the edict issued that the Jews could defend themselves we read this:

"Mordecai recorded these events, and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Xerxes, near and far, to have them celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor." (Esther 9:20-22)

Al-Zarqawi was a murderous thug who hide behind his vision of Islam. One has only to view or just listen to the brutal beheading of Nick Berg, to agree that death by 500 pound bomb was probably too good a fate for Al-Zarqawi. And while it is true that another will step up to take his place, at least this evil-doer is gone. Do I rejoice? Yes. And may the coming days give us more cause for celebration.

Having said that, now, there is a razor thin line between rejoicing and gloating. We can take too much pleasure in our ability to hunt down and kill our enemies. War is at times a necessary evil. But an evil nonetheless, we must never forget that. Human life, even as depraved as that of Al-Zarqawi and his ilk, is precious in God's sight. So even when we do what must be done, let us do so with fear and trembling as those who must give account to God.

O righteous God,
who searches minds and hearts,
bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure.
(Psalm 7:9)

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