Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Dancing on graves


The Lord God says: As surely as I live, I do not want any who are wicked to die. I want them to stop doing evil and live. Stop! Stop your wicked ways! You don’t want to die, do you, people of Israel?–Ezekiel 33:11 (NCV)

It’s been tough for me to process what a lot of people have been saying the last 24 hours.

I get that Osama bin Laden was a terrorist. He organized the worst attack on American soil. The people who carried out this plot thought they were doing what was right in their own eyes, but that cannot be justified by the deaths of thousands. A heinous attack that looked like it came right out of a movie came from the mind of a sick man.

I get that it is a big day for America. Nearly 10 years of the war on terror was justified by one operation… the one that started it all. Since then, we have invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and watched Egypt and Iran fight back against their governments. The actions of 9/11 warranted a reaction from the United States.

I get that it is justification for many whose loved ones have sacrificed for this nation. If you are in a military family, you have given way more to the cause of freedom than I have. Our soldiers have not just given their lives for freedom, but they’ve also given up their marriages, the opportunity to watch their children be born and grow up, and the opportunity to grieve loved ones who have been buried.

But what I saw yesterday morning when I turned on the TV turned my stomach.

I saw people celebrating the way our enemies celebrated our tragedy after 9/11.

I looked at Facebook and Twitter, and I saw what some of you had to say… some of you even are even brothers and sisters in Christ.

I couldn’t believe some of the reactions.

I’ve seen people who obviously don’t know their Bible justify their celebration because the Bible says “an eye for an eye”.

Jesus taught “eye for an eye” as well, except right after that, He said that if your enemy strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek to them also.

I’ve seen a Christian brother in the military drop an S-bomb on Bin Laden. Maybe he’s more justified in making that statement than I am in judging him because he’s on the front lines and is watching this fight right now.

As a nation, we should take some relief that he is out of the picture and won’t be around to harm anyone again. But as a nation (even an alleged Christian nation), we are celebrating that a man has gone to hell to suffer eternal torment to suffer for his stubbornness to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Maybe the reason we are so flippant about it as Christians is because we stand at the door to hell every day and invite unbelievers in.

You can’t take a Sharpie to the Bible and just read the leftovers that support what you have to say, and I believe that God is genuinely sad when someone rejects Him, because even though He is a god of holiness, He is also a god of love. When you love someone who rejects you, aren’t you sad too?

I also know that the Bible says that my sin is no worse than another’s, and that if you have violated one part of the law, then you have violated the whole law. In that respect, I am no better than Osama bin Laden, Hitler, and any number of murderers, thieves, and molesters out there that it is popular to hate.

I don’t know… maybe this will turn you off, and maybe it will make me look anti-American when I’m not, and maybe this will turn out to be my Rob Bell moment. At the end of the day, my citizenship is not in the United States of America. It is in the Kingdom of God. I think if we as Christians lamented how this ended instead of celebrating it, we would go a long way to repairing the image of Jesus Christ. People would see that we do truly love other people, even when they don’t agree with us or have faith in the one true God with salvation through Jesus Christ for their sins.

Is it wrong to feel this way?


3 thoughts on “Dancing on graves

  1. Very well-written analysis of a VERY complicated situation. Well done.

  2. Thank you for this read, and I felt the same way in every respect. We continually need to remember that to rejoice in the death of any man (or woman) who never awakened to his identity in Christ–be him “wicked” by any standard–is to rejoice in someone going to hell.

    Why should we rejoice in something that grieves Him?

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