A Terrorist is dead. His name was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
What are we as Christians supposed to make of that?
The Associated Press reports: “Al-Zarqawi, who had a $25 million bounty on his head, was killed at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday [June 6, 2006) after an intense two-week hunt that U.S. officials said first led to the terror leader’s spiritual adviser and then to him.”
Wikipedia carries the following biograpical skectch if you would like to know more about him. You can access it HERE
But I must be honest with you, much of what I have heard in response to al-Zarqawi’s death has been distrubing. One popular Talk-show host suggested we wrap him in a bacon blanket, put a ham hat on him and bury him in a Spam can. Even Christians I’ve heard have been positively gloating and jubilant.
And I fear we have done much sinning in our responses.
Now let me mark out first that this murderer and terrorist needed to be stopped. He deserved death. That is not in dispute. But by the same token, how Christians can claim to have the heart of their Lord and then rejoice over a man’s perishing into the eternal torments of a Christless Hell is beyond me.
We need caution here. Proverbs 24 warns: “17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”
There is place for sighs of relief and genuine gladness that the threat is gone – but no place, I repeat NO PLACE, for wicked gloating over the sin-bound life and violent death of one of Adam’s sons made in the image of God as much as you or me. None.
Did he deserve to hear the Gospel? As much as you or I. Was he more sinful than you and me? Only in manifestion, not in state. There but for the grace of God go I – and you. And the pictures of his wounded, dead corpse only make me grieve over the horror of sin’s claim on our lives apart from God intervening grace.
Yes, al-Zarqawi is a threat I am glad no longer exists. But dancing on his grave, is as depraved as excusing his crimes.
Be careful Christian, that you do not react the way the World does. Be careful that your own heart does not become callous and indifferent to the souls of men. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.” (2 Cor. 5:16 ) We must think of Zarqawi as a soul – not mere flesh. One of those “every living creature”s we were commanded to preach the Gospel to – to extend grace to, and the promise of mercy to, because of Christ’s death at Calvary. The loss of his eternal soul is no source of rejoicing for us.
Sometimes justice must be meted out on the battlefield, because society has no real way of dealing with such men. In God’s providence, He shows us great mercy this way. But do not use it as an occasion to scorn the soul of any man. You were God’s enemy too once. The only difference between Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denials, was grace. Don’t forget it.