October 20, 2011

No Pleasure

A few moments ago I heard a great deal of celebratory car honking outside my office. You know the kind I mean right? That special excited honk that people have for sports team wins and weddings. I was surprised to hear such sounds on a rainy Thursday afternoon so I looked out my window. As I looked I didn't see a car with 'Just Married' or a team flag on it. Instead I saw a car displaying several Libyan flags.

Then I understood.

Moammar Gadhafi is dead. And many are calling for a celebration of that fact. I can't bring myself to join in.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not pretending to believe that Gadhafi is a good guy in any sense of the word. He isn't, or rather he wasn't. As a Christian I just can't bring myself to celebrate death, even the death of villains.

Some of you will disagree with me. No doubt you will find psalms, proverbs and prophecies that all have a certain amount of exuberance about the death of an enemy. So many Christians have taken the approach that we ought to rejoice when the unjust are killed.

I simply can't do it.

Look At The Picture Carefully
However I feel that I am on solid ground with my displeasure in the death of even the most unjust. After all God tells us he is displeased with their deaths as well.

"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord GOD. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord GOD. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32"

Don't get me wrong I believe the unjust will be and need to be punished. I just don't feel pleasure in it. Not unlike the fact that I do not take pleasure in disciplining my own children. I do so because they need the correction, but I don't feel warm and tingly after I have done it.

Finally I don't take pleasure in the death of anyone, because I know how close to death we all really are. Sin affects us all. We all have done things deserving of death. I know my anger and my desire for control, are not really that far off from a dictator. The only difference if no one is willing to kill at my say so. At it's worst my anger produces mean spirited e-mails and conversations. But that says more about the social position I am in then it does about anything else.

So today as you are faced with Facebook updates, tweets, and news articles celebrating the death of Moammar Gadhafi please remember there is no celebration in Heaven. God's heart breaks for those who choose not to turn and repent. 

Why should ours do anything else?