Osama Bin Laden is dead, killed this past weekend as a result of U.S. military action in Pakistan. While many are rejoicing that the man behind the 9/11 terror attacks is gone, Christian missionaries are asking for prayers with the International Missionary Board of the Southern Baptist Convention calling for a “spirit of peace and calm to be present around the world.”1 More than 5,000 Baptists are currently serving as missionaries, some of whom are in highly sensitive areas where Christian persecution is likely.
Bin Laden’s death has brought strong reaction around the world ranging from jubilant celebration in New York’s Time Square to outrage in many Muslim lands over the “disrespectful” disposal of Bin Laden’s burial at sea.
On Sunday night, President Barack H. Obama announced in a televised appearance that Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Said the president, “Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”2
In accordance with Muslim law, bin Laden was buried within 24 hours. However, his burial at sea has angered many people including some clerics who contend that Osama should have been buried on land with his head pointed toward Mecca in accordance with Muslim law.3 Some have theorized that the United States couldn’t find a country willing to take bin Laden’s body while others have suggested that his burial site would quickly become a shrine and rallying point for militants bent on carrying out further attacks on Americans. Clerics say that America has “humiliated” Muslims by dumping bin Laden’s body at sea.
The Good News
Besides the Southern Baptists, most other missionary groups have not commented on bin Laden’s death, perhaps knowing that in this age of the Internet, news spreads globally within seconds and can easily be picked up and misunderstood by some.
It is the policy of this publication to not disseminate any news which could put the feet of those who bring “good news” in harm’s way.
So, how should Christians react when an enemy dies? A number of people have been posting Proverbs 24:17 to Facebook and other websites which, with verse 18 says:
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.
Although bin Laden is now in the presence of God Almighty and his judgment sealed, let’s not do as the world does — above all else we must pray.
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