–Originally posted on FWB21 May 12, 2011–
Upon the news of Osama Bin Laden’s recent death, I heard strong reactions from Christians that hit both ends of the spectrum. Some celebrated his death with great victory, relishing that justice had been met; others mourned the loss of a soul made in the image of God, despite his actions on earth. Still others tried to work through–out loud–what a Christian’s reaction should be in the face of such news.
I can honestly say I had no immediate reaction. I absorbed the information the same way as if you had told me that my book is lying on the table. I’m still trying to process it all, and I have no answers here for those seeking a proper Christian reaction. I do, however, have a story for you–one that may help you to search your own heart on the matter.
This story is about a Mediterranean-born terrorist. He is devout, blinded by his religion. In fact, I’m not sure you can find anyone who has more closely kept the tenets of his faith. The problem is, his faith is in conflict with Christian doctrine. Therefore, his intense religious devotion drives him to wreak havoc on the Christian church. He hunts down groups of believers, threatening them and throwing them in prison. He tears families apart and aids in the assassination of strong leaders in the Christian church. The Christians cower in fear before this man. His reputation always precedes him.
Before I continue, search your heart. What are your emotions? How do you feel toward this man? Do you hate him? Do you love him? Do you fear him?
One day, this terrorist claims to have seen a vision that causes a change of heart. Do you believe him? A known Christian comes and claims that he, too, has seen a vision from God and that this man’s conversion is real. What do you think now? Over the course of days, more proof becomes evident so that both local Christians and this man’s religious peers are surprised and confounded. Christians still fear him, but now his own people want him dead. There’s no going back now–this terrorist has become a wanted man himself.
What’s your reaction now? Are you angry? Confused? Is your heart rejoicing? Search closely.
I failed to mention this man’s name earlier. You may have heard of him. You see, he used to go by the name of Saul, but we know him better as Paul the Apostle. The man who was a terrorist has given us the greatest example of missionary activity the world has ever seen, the majority of the New Testament scripture, and a life lesson that no one is beyond the grace of God.
If your searching has revealed some ugly stain on your heart, take it to God and allow the Spirit to begin to change you there. Begin to pray for your enemies. You never know when they may become your allies.