20110502

Sun rise on the evil and the good

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? -Ezekiel 18:23
Once a person passes from life to death, his/her eternity is set. No "but;" no turning back. God made it clear that He does not rejoice in "the death of the wicked." In fact, "if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die." This reminds me of an objection to Christianity we hear a lot. How is it fair that a murderer could convert at the last moment of his/her life and go to heaven, while a "good" person who never kills anyone, a caring neighbor, a faithful husband/wife, and a loving father/mother goes to hell for not believing in Jesus? Well, this is how grace works. Salvation is offered to anyone; but everyone also has the choice to accept and reject such offer. God's grace is available to all, including those whom we think do not deserve it. At the end of the day, nobody deserves heaven. It's like we all got a "F," a fail grade, on heaven's entrance exam. It doesn't matter whether I am a mark off, or 49. I still failed. And if the Teacher decided to pardon all fail grades, then all are pardoned. Frankly, we are not even in the position to protest since we, too, failed.

To believe that Osama, like us, is also created in the image of God and is loved by God without partiality is a hard one to swallow. Following the logic above, if Osama had a chance to repent his sins and believe that Jesus had come to die for him, he would be saved as well. This is even harder to swallow, isn't it?

Perhaps we rejoice in our enemy's death because we do not see our own depravity. Like the thief on the cross beside Jesus. "We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve." (Luke 23:41) But the one who "has done nothing wrong" died on the cross to pay for our sins in order that we may "be with [Him] in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

Am I relieved that lots of innocent lives are saved from potential harm as a result of Osama's death? Yes, I am. Shall we celebrate? I am doubtful. Remember how we felt when we saw Palestinians celebrated 9/11, dancing on the street and showing signs of victory?
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. -Matthew 5:44-45

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