The death of Osama Bin Laden brings up an important point:
We live in a very broken world.
I remember. I remember waking up to a report of a plane crash, hitting snooze, then hearing of a second crash the next time my alarm went off. I remember my husband's voice when he ran out of our room to tell us, or I should say, tried to tell us, that the Pentagon had been hit. I remember putting my hand on my 8-month pregnant belly and wondering what this might mean for my children's future.
I remember watching the news reports. I remember the speechless tears of my father-in-law as we watched people jump from the WTC towers. I remember seeing the thousands of posters with faces of men and women who were missing all over the walls of NYC, representing the last and very faint hope that someone's loved one might still be alive.
Many of you may remember the picture of the African-American woman in her career clothing, completely covered in ashes, with a look of utter shock on her face. And I don't mean surprise. I mean she looked like she had gone into a medical state of shock and it very well could have been.
I remember when our soldiers went to war. I remember how in 12 days we took Afghanistan. And I know this War on Terror has been long, though to be honest, I don't think it hit me just how long it's been until today.
I feel the need to insert some disclaimers before I continue. I don't watch the news. I don't listen to the news. I find it a source of incredible negativity that I cannot afford to immerse myself in. I am not an expert in politics. I barely engage in them. Not for a lack of interest mind you, but it just consumes me if I let it. I am an emotional, live-on-my-gut-feeling kind of person and if you put me in the room to debate an intelligent, logical, and well-informed individual, I will lose, even if I am right.
And so, because of all that, I will not judge those who are cheering in the streets of D.C. I will not judge my friends on facebook who are quoting Bible verses on how we shouldn't celebrate the death of the wicked. I won't judge those who are flying facebook flags and posting patriotic videos and I certainly won't judge my military friends who have served in the Middle East who, interestingly enough, aren't saying anything.
I just think that Bin Laden's death serves as a slap-in-the-face reminder that we live in a horribly dark and broken world and I am mourning that tonight.
As a mother, I'd like to spit on the body of Osama Bin Laden. And yet, and I believe this with all my heart, we are but a few steps away from a heart as evil as his. I am not so great a person that I am above evil. None of us are. I am as human as Bin Laden. As I listen to people saying that justice has finally been done, I sit here and remember that justice is not being done to me. It is mercy that is extended to me everyday.
Why God allowed me to be born in America and not under the threat of men like Osama Bin Laden, I don't know, but I am thankful. Why God allows me to sit here and write this while a mother mourns the loss of her child in a foreign land, I don't know. And why He allows anyone into heaven, I don't understand that either. We can walk around thinking we deserve it all we want, but count up all the wrongs you have done in your life and tell me that you deserve it. Tell me, if you can, if buying a gift for an impoverished kid cancels out the time you yelled at your own. Tell me, if you can, if standing up for that elderly woman cancels out the time you bullied someone in high school. Tell me, if you honestly can, that all the good things you are doing for someone today somehow makes every hurt you've caused someone else go away. It doesn't.
We are at the mercy of the God of Justice and guess what? He offers forgiveness.
It's forgiveness that cancels it all out. It's God saying, "Yeah, I know what you did and I'm not going to tell you for a second that it's o.k. I'm not giving you any excuses and I don't want to hear yours."
It's as if I can see God looking at me with a look that says, "Let's get real, Rachael. Let's just tell it like it is."
And then it's as if I can see God look over his right shoulder and point to something in the distance. There is a smile, the kind of smile you see at a funeral when a funny story is told, and He says, "Look. Look over there."
I see. I see it now. I see very clearly that justice has been done, but it wasn't done to me. The abuse I deserved for abuses I have done has been laid squarely on the back of someone else-namely, Jesus.
"I forgive you," He says. "For the sake of my Son, I forgive you. Quit trying to prove that you are void of evil, because you're not. You're forgiven and I can't put it any plainer that that."
Think about this: who owes you? Who kicked you when you were down? Who took everything they could get from you and laughed at your gullibility? Who cut you to pieces mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually? Don't they owe you one?
Do you feel the need to cash that in? Will that heal you? Look, don't say it's o.k. Don't give them excuses and don't think you have to listen to theirs. Keep it real. See it for what it is and call a spade a spade. But we can't expect people to make up for every wrong thing they have done to you. Shoot, don't think for an instant that they can ever make it up to you. They can't, so let it go. Forgive. Write off the wrong that was done to you like a bad debt and move on emotionally. You are broken, they are broken, and our world is broken.
What does that have to do with Osama Bin Laden? Not much, I suppose, except for that fact that tonight, as I ponder the news that the man who was the mastermind behind 9/11 is dead, I mourn for our world. I mourn for all the evil that is happening at this moment. I mourn for the wrongs done to others and I mourn the wrongs I have done to others.
When my grandkids ask, "Grandma, how did you feel when you heard that Bin Laden died?" I will answer, "Sad. Sad that the world can be such an evil place, that men can do such evil things, and that it took death to make him stop."