On the plains of Jordan
I cut my bow from the wood
Of this tree of evil
Of this tree of good
I want a kiss from your lips
I want an eye for an eye
I woke up this morning to an empty sky
—Bruce Springsteen, "Empty Sky," The Rising (RCA, 2002)
I remember turning on BBC just as the second plane hit the World Trade Center. I was in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, having just interviewed the Uzbek Defense Minister. We had discussed how the U.S. and Uzbekistan might work more closely on terrorism, since Osama bin Laden lived across Uzbekistan's southern border in Afghanistan.
My wife soon called from the States as we experienced together the full scope of our humanity: from tears to rage. As the above lyrics lament, our sorrow wanted Old Testament justice.
This weekend, the perpetrator of 9/11 learned that there are consequences for sin. Those consequences are sometimes delivered by governments whose responsibility is justice (Rom. 13:3-5; 1Pet. 2:14)—even if their bows, according to their condition, may yield evil with the good.
Indeed, since it is a "dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31), we are also humbly reminded of and hopefully repent of our own sin.
And we remember anew that God's Son lived, died, and today teaches a New Testament, calling each of his believers to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:44-45).
I didn't love bin Laden. And I can count on one hand the number of times I prayed for him over the past ten years. My heart convicts me—forgive my sin, dear God—but I have no qualms about his death, or how he died.
I do know, however, that it is not a time for celebration.The God of history ...