After much consideration, I've decided that the status conversations I had on Facebook on the topic of Bin Laden's assassination would be spiritually beneficial for my blog readers and followers. I thought about posting them immediately but refrained from it due to the volatile nature of the topic. That being said, I woke up this morning and realized that my previous thoughts on whether or not I should blog about this were entirely based on the misconception that I couldn't address the subject in a way that reached(s) out universally. This morning it occurred to me that I'd already done that on Facebook. I hope you feel the same way.
I'd like to thank Justine Finney Guyer for the question that started the tone of every conversation that followed on the topic. I realize that there's literally been millions of conversations regarding this historical event. I pray you see the uniqueness in these conversations and come to appreciate their human and healing value.
Justine Finney Guyer: Dear Josh, Am I supposed to be celebrating the fact that bin Laden has been killed? Go. May 1 at 9:50pm · Like ·
- Josh Kezer: I think the answer is yes and no. It is what it is. Yes, because in the rules of war it's a victory, especially in the context of 9/11. No, because death is death and, as Satan's puppet in this theater of world war, Bin Laden is now in Hell and suffering damnation without remedy. Whether we like it or not, it is what it is ... and it's sobering and sad. May 1 at 10:27pm · Like · 1 person
- Emily Edens: I concur x100!!! We should also be praying for the consequences that are going to come over the people in the middle east who may have had something to do with our troops finding him. There are scads of American supporters over there that might be targeted even more now. May 1 at 11:31pm · Like
- Brittney Nettles: Amen. I felt the same but couldn't put it into words that well. May 1 at 11:32pm · Like
- William Byrne: He killed thousands. May 1 at 11:34pm · Like
- Josh Kezer: We can assume he did not know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was Muslim. That being said, the Bible is clear and absolute on this. St. John 14:6. Thus, we can assume he went to hell. That is harsh, but it is very true. Heaven and hell are the consequence of our decision to receive or not receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Muslims do not, thus the consequence. As I said, it is what it is ... and it's sobering and sad. Still yet, I'm reminded of Proverbs 24:17. William, Easter just passed. Do not forget so quickly that we killed Christ. May 1 at 11:37pm · Like · 2 people
- Jasmine Luna: I was thinking the same thing when I saw everyone celebrating that he is dead! May 1 at 11:38pm · Like
- Emily Edens: A friend of mine brought up a very good point...why is it that we celebrate the death of a terrorist so freely but a fraction of the people celebrate Jesus dying for our sins? May 1 at 11:39pm · Like · 1 person
- William Byrne: Thousands. Thousands were killed. May 1 at 11:39pm · Like
- Tara Ray: Wow, your words are very powerful ,well put, and very true. I do agree that our nation does need a lot of prayer and compassion as well as the innocent over too. you right he did NOT know Jesus if he did he couldn't do what he did. May 1 at 11:46pm · Like
- Amber Dawn: Your absolutely right Josh! Didn't think about it in that way til now! Is never right to celebrate the death of a lost soul. No matter what they do! It is not for us to judge, tis our Lord's. May 1 at 11:46pm · Like
- Josh Kezer: William. Have you made your point as adamantly about Satan or Adam and Eve? Satan's fall has taken millions. Adam and Eve's sin sent sin throughout all of creation. Or do you think your sin less lethal than any others? I'm not saying that he didn't reap what he sowed, but don't forget your sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. Doesn't it disturb you a little how similar this celebration of a man's death resembles that of lynchings, hangings and public executions? I understand the closure, but it's getting ridiculous. People are lauding his suffering in hell. That's going too far, or do you not think that Jesus died for men such as him as well, despite their rejection of His saving grace? St. John 3:16. May 1 at 11:48pm · Like · 2 people
- Dawn Holden: Josh, I'd like to thank you for often bringing the sobering truth of the matter to the table of many topics of discussions. Many are high-fiving over bin Laden's death; I'm guilty of it as well. But your comment brings it straight home: Jesus died for even men like him. Thank you for that. May 2 at 12:03am · Unlike · 3 people
- Tonya Meuir: Sure this man was a horrible man and may have not known Jesus and probably done a lot of sinning in his time but didn't Jesus at one time say 'he who is without sin cast the first stone.' I for one am not about to throw a stone at anyone as I have my faults that need to be fixed even to this day. All I can say is I sure will be praying for his family that they won't retaliate against us for this and try to harm us again. God be with us. May 2 at 12:24am · Like
- William Byrne: You are awesome Josh. You are the best! May 2 at 2:25am · Like
- James Jackson: I, in corporate prayer, just prayed this very thing. Trying to explain the sense of relief and at the same time a sense of loss was tough. There are many more heading down the path of eternal separation from God. He would that none would perish without Him, but all come to repentance. Good word Josh. May 2 at 8:48am · Like
Josh Kezer: Comment posted earlier by Laurie Bobbitt. I deleted it until I was able to compose a responsible response. "This may start a conversation I don't have time to finish now, since I am leaving for work. However, I believe that the Scripture teaches that not a drop of the precious blood of our Savior was wasted. In other words, his blood was applied to all who are being saved. His blood is always effective. His blood is not wasted on those who reject Him. That is part of the Reformed Theology our church embraces. It isn't important whether we agree on that fine point of doctrine, but when a person like Bin Laden makes a decision to reject Christ, they have made their decision. Nothing that anyone could have done could change that. No "trying harder" or "praying harder". His heart was hardened like Pharaoh's. He gave himself over to the evil one to be used for his evil purposes. Do we mourn Judas? I don't waste my time doing that. It was prophesied what he would do - betray Jesus. That is not to say that we do not evangelize. Of course we do that. But God is the one who changes hearts, not us. And there are those who harden their hearts beyond the point of conversion. And while one little sin makes of worthy of death, Jesus taught that there are gradations of sin & punishment. Yes, our sin nailed Jesus to the cross. But to celebrate the destruction of evil is not wrong. I am sorry that he gave himself over to Satan. But since he did, I am glad he is gone. He not only caused evil to be perpetrated upon innocent souls, but he deceived many & led them astray. Jesus said the punishment of those who did that would be worse. This was not a lynching. Lynchings killed innocents. This man was willingly a tool of Satan. Adam & Eve realized they had been deceived & repented. Bin Laden did not repent to anyone's knowledge. In fact, from what I hear on the news, he refused to surrender when given the opportunity. Instead he grabbed a woman & used her as a human shield & got her killed as well. He was evil AND a coward. So while I am not revelling in the streets, I do not regret his death one twit. People are celebrating that justice was done. Justice is an essential part of God's character & being. If it were not so, Jesus would never had to come & die. Grace is free, but not cheap. He had to satisfy God's demand for justice. The Scripture teaches that ALL of God's creatures will glorify Him - one way or the other. We will either be a testament to His mercy by willingly submitting to His Lordship now, or a testament to His justice by receiving His eternal wrath. We cannot invent God the way we want Him to be. Let Scripture speak for itself. Respectfully & humbly yours.
If this is your approach and our church's approach, the approach is wrong. If you assume that God does not weep over lost souls, even souls such as Laden's and Judas and, even, Cain, your assumption is wrong. Your assumption would apply to the people that conspired to murder me in prison. Your assumption would apply to any one not saved. Your assumption is what caused the crusades, what legitimized the Calvinistic slaughters of those who believed in free will and what empowered the wars of history between Catholicism and Protestants. I know this is not the motivation of your assumption or portions of the church, but it is what it is. I know you. I believe you have a good heart. This is the time to show it.
People in this country have plenty of reason to be angry and hateful. It is the churches responsibility to minister the gospel of peace, the gospel of reconciliation. Ephesians 6:15. Romans 10:15. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. Proverbs 14:9. You're right about one thing. None of Christ's blood was shed in vain or wasted. What that means though is not for us to strictly define, unless we're willing to accept that His love for humanity is so amazing that He even died for His enemies, that He even died for those that He knew would ultimately reject Him. Luke 23:34. Romans 5:6. And I seem to remember Pastor Phil preaching on the gospel of peace recently, so I'm not so sure his theology is as you would suppose.
The argument isn't whether or not Laden reaped what he sowed. We can agree on that. It's that we shouldn't celebrate a man's damnation. Proverbs 24:17
The bottom line is that scripture does speak for itself. St. John 3:16. 1 Timothy 2:4. 2 Peter 3:9. St. Matthew 5:44. As christians and the church, it's not our call to defend Reformed Theology or any denominations theology. It's our call to defend the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His entire word, i.e. the Bible. May 2 at 10:57am · Like · 1 person
- Josh Kezer: Some verses to consider. Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; MIcah 7:18. May 2 at 11:54am
- Francine Bockmon-Ortiz: I think it is celebrating the end of his evilness, not so much his death. I am sure nobody wishes death on anyone. May 2 at 12:26am · Like
- James McIntyre Cates: I'd rather seen him captured alive! May 2 at 12:32am · Unlike · 2 people
- Rhonda Hyslip: That is true Forgiveness and Grace! May 2 at 1:00am · Unlike · 1 person
- William Byrne: I mourn his victims. May 2 at 11:19pm · Like
- Josh Kezer: As you should. But challenge your soul to mourn him as well. That may be difficult, but it is nonetheless the challenge that forgiving the "unforgivable" offers up to us. Mourn not his death. Mourn the deaths of his victims. Mourn, however, his damnation, wherein is no repentance or reprieve. And mourn for yourself. Set your eyes on Jesus. Then move on, yet keep your eyes on Jesus. Let Laden remain where he is - in the past, and glorify Jesus where He is - ever present. May 2 at 11:25pm · Like · 4 people
- Lisa Trunzo: My sister in law worked in Manhattan. She watched the bodies fall from the towers, and she and her husband lost many friends that day. Bin Laden's was a life dedicated to evil and destruction of life...and he met the result of the path he chose... May 3 at 6:23am · Like · 1 person
- Josh Kezer: I agree, Lisa. He chose his end. He earned it. I'm not advocating sympathy for his outcome. I'm not a death row advocate, for obvious reasons, but his death and damnation were his choice. That being said, you minister to incarcerated men. You're a jail house preacher. You've served in Teen Challenge. Many of them have suffered extraordinary abuses. Many of them have raged out of vengeance and the violation of their "rights". What would you tell them about their past and/or cases? Please. Share your thoughts here. May 3 at 10:00am · Like
- Lisa Trunzo: I tell them the Lord has always been with them, His heart breaking at their pain and the damage they have inflicted, even though they walked through this world with their backs to Him...refusing His love. At the heart of violence is anger, at the heart of anger is pain, at the heart of pain is rejection. The pain caused by rejection by our parents or our world is nothing compared to the Lord's pain by our turning away from Him. We can only heal through forgiveness, and by taking our eyes off of ourselves and our own injustice. I cannot change those things which harmed me in my childhood, but I can lay them at His feet and continue to walk onward. Pharaoh's heart was hardened unto death. We have a choice. I also tell them a story about a man I know named Joshua Kezer. May 3 at 10:55am · Like · 1 person
- Josh Kezer: Now consider this. These are your words, with a twist. - I tell them the Lord has always been with Bin Laden, His heart breaking at Bin Laden's pain and the damage Bin Laden has inflicted, even though he walked through this world with his back to Him...refusing His love. At the heart of violence is anger, at the heart of anger is pain, at the heart of pain is rejection. The pain caused by rejection by our parents or our world is nothing compared to the Lord's pain by our turning away from Him. We can only heal through forgiveness, and by taking our eyes off of ourselves and our own injustice. I cannot change those things which harmed me in my childhood, but I can lay them at His feet and continue to walk onward. Bin Laden's heart was hardened unto death. We have a choice. I also tell them a story about a man I know named Joshua Kezer. - Interesting. In light of your previous comment, made roughly 5 hours ago, on this status thread, how does this edit make you feel? ... how does it challenge your Christian heart? You're allowed more than one answer. May 3 at 11:38am · Like
- Lisa Trunzo: I would rejoice that such as he could come to Christ and be saved and bring glory to the Father. But I cannot judge those who lost those they loved to this man's evil...for being unable to forgive as I could. I cannot begin to fathom the depths of their agony. I cannot even pretend to. But I would pray that as the Lord heals their pain, they would one day know the peace of forgiving. As Corrie ten Boom once said (in my words): when we do not have the strength to forgive, we need simply to stretch out our hand in obedience to the Lord...and He will give us the strength. May 4 at 6:33am · Unlike · 1 person
- Josh Kezer: Well said. Very well said. May 4 at 9:31am · Like
- Brett Barton: Good stuff Josh. May 3 at 10:30am · Like
- Mariloli Ramírez: Great thinking!!!! May 3 at 11:16am · Like
- Terrence Payne: AMEN JOSH! May 3 at 12:36pm · Like