For the past few days we have wrestled with questions concerning forgiveness. Hope you have found it a journey worth taking. Today we come to the end of the questions posed. In essence, do we forgive even him?
We’ve talked about an eye for an eye, and that was not a Christian way of life. Yet, I couldn't help but have chills when I found out Seal Team 6 took out Bin Laden. As a Christian, am I suppose to forgive a monster like that for the things he did? Am I a bad person for believing in justice?
Thoughts to Consider:
Mmm. Great questions! They trigger more questions within me. For instance, implied in the question is the assumption that forgiveness and justice are mutually exclusive. In short, are we assuming that if we choose to forgive we must forgo our claims to justice? Is that really forgiveness, or a pardon? Can you forgive someone and still send them to prison, or to whatever hell is in store for them?
Now these are questions that demand our best thinking as followers of Christ. We may not all agree.
Let’s use your example of bin Laden. The man was a bitter enemy of our country, perpetrating unconscionable crimes against humanity. Compounding the evil was that he did those crimes because of the sinister distortions and delusions taught by the Wahhabis Imams who preach a radical Islamist message of hate. They pretend to speak for God.
To forgive this sociopath means that we refuse to hate the soul of a twisted, demented man. He was not merely confined to his compound in Pakistan, he was trapped within a tortured soul, tragically misled by a grotesque understanding of God. To forgive that man does not mean that we allow such an evil soul to continue his crimes against humanity. He had to be stopped.
From my reading of the news, it seems that the US Navy Seals who captured his compound in Pakistan made a good faith effort to capture him alive. Perhaps I am naïve, but I don’t believe that our service men murdered him. He threatened their lives and they reacted to protect themselves, their mission and our lives. That seems just to me.
In my heart and mind, there is no contradiction in acting justly against an enemy and choosing to forgive that same enemy.
Can we forgive him? We must. Can we tolerate others like him? We cannot. The act of forgiveness protects our hearts and souls; the act of self-defense protects our loved ones and preserves justice in our world.
Now it needs to be said that some Christians of strong faith and good conscience will disagree with me, and do so vehemently. Their reading of the Gospels leads them to a position of complete pacifism, refusing to ever use force and denying that war is ever justified – even to protect the country they love and people they cherish.
I respect their position, and find enough credence in their argument to leave me very cautious in my beliefs, for the Bible has been used in the past to justify indefensible actions. But my understanding of the scriptures leads me to believe that we must resist evil and strive for justice, even, as a last resort, to the point of arms.
What do you think?