The Christian Thing To Do
So is it wrong for me to rejoice in the death of evil men? I don't immediately have an answer. The man who died, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, was a vicious man who killed people in gruesome, spectacular ways in order to sow the seeds of chaos and suffering. Were he alive today, he would continue to plot more suffering for the sake of his sectarian agenda. It's difficult to mourn the death of a man like that.
But then again, I'm repulsed by the cavalier attitude toward death shown by some Christians these days. Case in point: Left Behind the video game. (Hat tip: Jeff, via Barzelay. And also Nathan Chapman). A shoot-em-up game where you convert or kill the enemies of Christ. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, as Newsweek jokes. What were its creators THINKING? I'm embarrassed.....no, ashamed on the behalf of all Christians for this crap.
And I can't ignore the words of Jesus:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
That's the standard I aim to live up to. "Loving" and "praying for" my enemies would seem to rule out rejoicing at their death.
So what's the right response then? Is relief okay? Iraq will probably still spiral into civil war without him, but at least it's less likely now that he's gone. Is it okay for me to rejoice about that?
I ask this not in a spirit of defensiveness, but in soul-searching. Like I said, Barzelay's right. I should not be rejoicing in another's suffering and especially not in his eternal damnation, however natural that reaction may be when considering such a monster.
So what's the proper response? What's the Christian response? (Please, no snide remarks about how many Christians act. I'm talking about the response Christians should have.) I'm asking you, my friends, Christian or otherwise, to help me figure this out.