I wrote the following post yesterday afternoon after reading of the death of some of Gaddafi’s family members. I feel that it is all the more relevant today in light of the news of Osama’s murder that I awoke to this morning. In that regard, you can apply my arguments below to the death of Osama as well.
You do not have to agree with me, but please do me the courtesy of reading and prayerfully considering what I have to say in it’s entirety before you form an opinion as to where I stand on terrorism and “justice”.
This issue is heavy on my heart today.
I have been keeping up with the events unfolding in the East, Libya in specific, and my heart is constantly broken for those people. The amount of daily unrest is unreal. The news source I follow on Twitter reports almost daily on the number of deaths occurring from these struggles. My thoughts and prayers are generally with the victims of the violence, praying first that God will protect them, but also that He will intervene to bring about a change in a nonviolent way. A change of heart among the rulers of those nations. An opportunity for mutual understanding and compromise. Peace.
When various countries began to turn to military force to stop Gaddafi, I was conflicted. Yes, he needed to be stopped, but was this the right way to handle it? Possibly risking the lives of civilians in order to stop someone from further threatening those civilians’ lives seemed counter-productive. (As did fighting violence with violence.) But what other option did the leaders have? Negotiations had failed and people were continuing to die.
I don’t envy the job of the leaders of the various nations. If I had been in their place, I don’t know how I would have best handled the situation. It seems like there is no right course of action to be found.
Saturday night, I read that a NATO strike had killed one of Gaddafi’s sons and three of his grandchildren. For those who are unaware, most of Gaddafi’s family, specifically his sons, support him and his political stance. In the eyes of the world, I would guess that this is a victory.
But as I thought on this and shared it with my husband Sunday morning, my heart was as equally broken for these deaths as it had been for the deaths of the oppressed. I wept for the loss of life, regardless of the evil acts that have been committed.
These people were, in all likelihood, just as terrible as Gaddafi, a man most of the world agrees is a tyrannical murderer. But all of these people, Gaddafi included, are clearly lost and separated from the grace and love of God. They are people who were created in God’s image—just like me. And they were murdered on Saturday.
To what end? Do their deaths bring back the victims who were slain? Does killing them right the wrongs that have been done? Has any of the pain from their actions or their association with Gaddafi been erased in their death? Clearly no.
Am I denying that their actions were evil?
Honestly, I have no idea what they have specifically done, but in a nutshell, no.
Do I deny that there should be consequences for their actions?
But, do I think that they should have died for their actions (or for their relation to and support of someone so cruel)?
The point remains that it was God who created them and gave them life and it is He that should have the power to take that away.
Have we forgotten the Sermon on the Mount?
Matthew 7 – 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
Matthew 7 – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Or maybe it is more clear in Romans 12.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I feel like that bears repeating at least once more:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
So my response to this is that while we should continue praying for the victims, we should also extend those prayers to the rulers. Right now it seems that the only way for the death and destruction in these nations to end is by killing the rulers, but this perpetuates the violence. Instead, let us pray for a supernatural change in their hearts and minds, for it is only then that there is a chance of peaceful reconciliation.