Last night I believe we inaugurated a new holiday. At least, that's what it appeared to be with the Mardi Gras like partying in the streets of Washington D.C. My own Alma Matter, Appalachian State, was apparently stormed by students in the middle of the night in celebration over Osama Bin Laden's death. Who knew the death of an individual could instigate such happiness (or, perhaps, this was simply a good excuse for college students to break out the kegs and party all night). Certainly, it's not wrong to feel a sense of satisfaction and peace over Osama's demise. I did. This man is responsible for the horrible death's of thousands--some on our own soil, some not. He was a symbol of evil and was the forefront of an entire terrorist regime. And there's no doubt that as long as he remained alive he remained a threat.
Still, the sort of response which many Americans had to the death of Osama proved perplexing, especially in light of the fact that statistically we're a Christian nation. How many of us would have rather see this man die than see him come to repentance? How many "Christians" would denounce this man to hell rather than see him enter into relationship with Christ? I understand I am not popular right now, but that is the stretch of the Gospel.
In any case, last night we had a sense that "justice" has been done. In fact, those were Hilary Clinton's very words and Obama's general sentiments. Justice has been done. But I simply ask, has it? While I'm personally nearly a pacifist, I do acknowledge some level of Just War (to use Augustine's terminology). The ten year pursuit to find this individual was, in my opinion, a just pursuit. I find the scriptural support for the actions of our country here or, for another example, in the opposition to Nazi Germany, a sort of expression of neighbor love. We are seeking some sort of justice for the families and individuals affected by his vicious actions and we're attempting to defer any other atrocities which might lay in the present or the future. Last night we found him. And we killed him.
But can we really see justice being done? Perhaps on some level. This brings a sort of piece and closure to many of those which have been seeking it. But as I noted in a video I posted last night on my channel (see below), this sort of justice can only get us so far. The partying and rejoicing made by so many American's last night nearly suggested that the problem is now fixed. It suggested that the wrongs have been made right and now the case is closed. As if this was a problem to be solved or remedied. But the simple fact still remains that those towers are not there now and will never be there again. The planes went down and this war has sent the U.S. back thousands of casualties. All those that perished on 9/11 and in the war are still gone and their photographs on the mantle will always remind us of that day. This year, on September 11th, the sting will still be there. If true justice was done with the assassination of Osama, would we continue to feel that sting?
Human justice only gets us so far. It only gets us partially there. This is one of the reasons I see divine justice as so important. It is only within the Christian worldview that somehow, someway, as difficult as it is to imagine it, true justice will be worked out. C.S. Lewis once expressed the paradox of divine justice well: “That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory" (The Great Divorce). Scripture presents for us a view of justice which is not done with a bullet to the head. It is one in which individuals are actually, fully, and completely held accountable for their actions by the Creator and the Redeemer and that, in some way, things will actually be made right. Is this not a more encouraging thought to those that will continue to feel the sting of a lost one who was victimized by this man?