Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden's First Five Minutes in Hell

Osama Bin Laden is in Hell. And I'm not very happy about it.

Let me be clear. I celebrate with other Americans today that this horrible monster has been removed. I congratulate our soldiers, intelligence agencies, our President, and everyone who had a hand in bringing this murderer to justice. You've done your country proud. I'm truly resting easier tonight. Yet I can't help but thinking about Jesus' story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke Chapter 16.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.

Hell is a very real place, reserved for those who reject the one true God. The Bible makes it clear that this is a gruesome place of everlasting punishment. It is a pit of fire, darkness and separation from God. I can't imagine anything worse, because there is no worse place to be. Bin Laden chose to murder and terrorize the country I love. He chose to persecute Christians. A soldier's bullet did not send Bin Laden to Hell. His own choices sent him there. His fate was sealed before a shot was fired.

But I can imagine this: That after five minutes in Hell, Bin Laden had a change of heart. After just 5 minutes in that terrible hole, I imagine he was crying out for water to cool his tongue; for another chance to live life again - to tell his family that he was wrong! Jehovah is the one true God. Hell is very real. Yet his chances are gone. His fate is sealed. He alone made his choice. His torment will never end.

I can't wrap my mind around that, and I can't celebrate it.

Proverbs 24:17 warns us, "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice." Take this for what it's worth, but I believe that if we gloat over the fact that Bin Laden is burning in Hell, then we allow hate to rule the day. The Bible goes on to say in verse 19 that, "the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out." It's enough to know that God is just, and he will not let evil go unpunished. But the same God who desires that none should be lost, and that all men should be saved, takes no delight in consigning anyone to everlasting punishment.

The U.S.A. has done what needed to be done. We were justified in protecting our freedom. The President absolutely made the right call. Bin Laden is no longer a threat to our freedom, and for that reason, we should all be grateful.

But we should also be reminded that sin isn't always ugly. Sometimes it's the nice old man who lives down the street who has chosen to reject his Savior. It could be that 7th grade science teacher who was so helpful to you, but believes that Creationism and the idea of a God is pure nonsense. That nice cashier at the grocery store who always greets you with a smile? She forsook God when her husband died of cancer. She cursed her Creator and walked away, vowing never to come back.

My point is this. If as Christians, we are moved with even an iota of sadness that a mass murdering terrorist is spending eternity in Hell, how much more should we be moved to action for the people we meet every day? What are we doing to save them from an eternity of darkness and help show them the love of our Savior?

It's something to think about.