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Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene
I am writing late this morning because I was up late last night watching the Canadian election results, and despite my 5-day migraine, I am HAPPPYYYYY!!!!!!!!

Woo hoo!

For my non-Canadian readers, in a nutshell our Conservative government won a majority, and I am looking forward to stability, more economic growth, and a steady hand. I think that's good.

At the same time, I know Christians disagree with me about politics, and I just want to say that I think is perfectly okay. Jesus trumps politics, and I hope politics don't ever alienate people from God.

Another thought: I don't necessarily agree with the idea, "everybody should vote", as if voting itself is a good thing. If you really don't care, and you haven't really thought about the issues, then maybe the best thing is NOT to vote. I remember watching videos of people saying they voted for Obama because he was pro-life. I sometimes think people should have to write a basic test to vote--except I know I don't really mean that. But the mantra "everybody should vote" is sometimes silly. I think everybody who cares should vote. I do think everybody SHOULD care, but if you don't, then don't vote. I'm really okay with that, although I think it's a shame that some don't care.

Next, about bin Laden: I've been getting beaten up on Facebook for posting a quotation yesterday "glorifying in the defeat of your enemy". And so I've been thinking and praying about it.

Apparently there's a quote going around the internet today about how Martin Luther King Jr. said he would never rejoice in the death of his enemies--but he didn't say it. It's a fake quote.

Regardless, I think this is a thorny issue. The Bible is filled--simply filled--with all kinds of songs and passages celebrating an enemy's defeat. I have a hard time believing, therefore, that it's anti-Christian to rejoice when an enemy is defeated. At the same time, I understand the urge towards compassion, because God does not want anyone to perish.

Yet the same God who wrote the Old Testament also wrote that He didn't want anyone to perish, so it's not straightforward. God was not a pacifist; He demanded that Israel go to war many times, and He is still the same God, yesterday, today, and forever. I think the problem we sometimes have with Old Testament passages is that in OT times it was obvious who God's people were and who the enemies were. Today we're a little more uncomfortable saying that we are God's people and they are the enemies. Doesn't that sound arrogant?

Personally, I don't have a problem calling radical Islamic terrorists the enemies of God's people, since they target God's people and deliberately call for their deaths. So that's just where I stand.

But my husband pointed out that perhaps sometimes I come across as too hard-hearted, and I think he's a right. I'm a very black and white thinker; I always have been. I don't have a lot of room for grey. I'm also seriously on the logical side, and not so much the emotional, so my compassion meter is sometimes a little faulty.

Therefore, while I think it's fine to rejoice in the death of one's enemies, I wouldn't say that it is the greater good. And so I am done rejoicing, and I am back to praying that the evil that is in the world will see the light--for there is much evil today. And I will continue to pray for those who must fight against that evil and stand up under it.

UPDATE: Okay, I don't know what's right anymore. I've seen reputable web sites say the MLK quote is bogus, and other websites (and a friend) type a passage that looks like it's the entirety from a book he wrote. But I'd need the book to verify. So I just don't know. That's always the problem with the internet, isn't it?

UPDATE 2: The plot thickens. Apaprently it IS bogus, but maybe not. Here's the link, and you can decide for yourself!



At 11:28 AM , Blogger Lori Alexander said…

I was just having a discussion on facebook on this very issue. Ezekiel 33:11 kind of settled it for me but it is hard to not rejoice when an evil man is done away with. that is wonderful about your new conservative government. I hope they truly put in conservative principles. I, too, am a black and white person!


At 11:32 AM , Blogger Heather said…

This comment has been removed by the author.


At 11:32 AM , Blogger Mary R. said…

I think it is ok to shout with relief (Proverbs 11:10," When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.")when a terrorist is killed.

I also think it is ok to hope that innocent blood is avenged (Rev.6:9,10, "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, does thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?").

I think it is appropriate to rejoice when justice has been done and innocent blood avenged and a terrorist is no longer on this planet to torment people, and is now in God's hands to be judged.

We don't have to go overboard and act like heathen.Neither do we have to go overboard and defent OBL because we're supposedly "no worse than he was because after all, we gossip."


At 11:37 AM , Blogger Heather said…

I should say, part of the quote is from MLKJ:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


At 11:51 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Heather, Yes, that quote is from MLK. The one read on our Christian radio station this morning was not! And the one going around so much is not! I won't repeat it here because I don't want it to come up in search engines, but basically it says that he will never rejoice in the death of an enemy. He never said it.

Lori, I know what you're saying about Ezekiel 33:11, and I wonder if there's a difference between rejoicing in a victory and actually rejoicing in someone's death? Because that seems to be the difference in the verses. Does that make sense? Obviously victory involves another's death, but perhaps that's the line. I don't know. I'm still trying to figure it out.


At 11:59 AM , Blogger Lori Alexander said…

If someone murdered my family and was killed for doing so, I wouldn't rejoice, I would just mourn over the whole situation. I didn't rejoice when I heard the news about Osama, I was just grieved that the whole horrible situation even happened. But like you said, a lot of Psalms is about rejoicing at the destruction of their enemies. I just can't see how God would be upset if people rejoiced at the death of evil men.


At 12:11 PM , Blogger Mary R. said…

Congratulations on your conservative government! That is great!

No, I don't believe it is wrong to rejoice that justice is done or innocent blood avenged, especially if while they were still alive they continued to do what they did, unrepentant.

Like another commenter said, too, you have to mourn that things like this happen in the first place. But you can't continue to allow them to go on, hurting others.


At 1:14 PM , Blogger kkaci said…

I looked up the real quotes ... wow, that man was incredible. Only the first part of the "quote" was fake -- it looks like it was someone's personal commentary to start, then at some point some punctuation got dropped. The rest is valid.


At 1:16 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

The man was incredible. What a tragedy when he was murdered.

I memorized his I Have a Dream speech once, and taught it to my kids in our homeschool. We love watching it on YouTube. I can't hear it without getting goosebumps. I do aspire to be more like him--but admit that I am far from it.


At 1:18 PM , Blogger Renee said…

I'm not sure if you thought my comment was "beating you up", but I really didn't intend that. I just noticed a different perspective coming from my youth pastor, and thought I'd share it.


At 1:25 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Renee, no worries! It wasn't that thread. It was one with about 35 comments, that then somehow got deleted (I wonder if it ran afoul of Facebook's policies or something?). :)


At 9:22 PM , Blogger Scott said…

My take is that it is OK to rejoice in the defeat of evil. I believe that the man was pure evil. I may be wrong in that judgment, but I stand by it. Is there anyone who would argue honestly that he is not?

Still it is a complex issue, and I appreciate your struggling with it honestly in front of us all.

BTW I don't know if I've said how much I appreciate your blog. Thanks and keep up the good work.


At 3:04 AM , Blogger Deborah said…

I just read a blog post on the same topic (a Christian response to UBL's death) that I think balances things nicely. In Part 1 of his post, Brian talks about how the appropriate Christian response to the death of any unbeliever is sadness, because that person has begun an eternity in hell. But in Part 2 (linked below), Brian talks about how it is the role of earthly governments to restrain evil, and it also is appropriate for Christians to be relieved and thankful when that role is performed. I thought it was a good, concise statement of how I ought to be feeling ... and why my initial joy at the news should have been initial grief instead, followed by relief, thankfulness, and even joy that UBL had been stopped.


At 6:53 AM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

I think relief and satisfaction that justice has been served is warranted.

Here's a Scripture on the issue of celebration:

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.
Proverbs 24:17-18


At 2:32 PM , Anonymous Wendy said…

Girl, you speak my language on multiple levels. That's a bond I think only Christ can make :) As a conservative political activist in the states, CONGRATS on the conservative victory up there! :) I've thought many times how nice a pre-voting test should be administered before people are allowed to cast a vote. I am amazed at the ignorance of the issues and laziness of people to even search the truth out. My children's FUTURE is based on these people voting! Then I remind myself, their futures are in the hands of God (but it's still frustrating all the same that people vote ignorantly).

One of my friends summed up my thoughts on UBL's death perfectly:

"‎"I do not rejoice over death but over the fact that someone who has wished death upon me and my countrymen, can no longer make good on those wishes..." (thanks Lish Burton)


At 9:14 PM , Blogger Tina Hollenbeck said…

I agree with you about voting - and I wish there were a requirement of sorts that you had to know and care about actual ISSUES (not just personality or, for heaven's sake, being "part of history" by voting for the first black American presidents - good grief, if he's unqualified why does that matter?!). Sigh. But maybe your conservative victory in Canada bodes well for the same in the U.S. in '12...

I also agree with you about bin Laden. One thing I posted yesterday was that, as an American, I was rejoicing in his death - because it means that he, personally, cannot mastermind another attack and because getting him may deter some others. On the other hand, as a Christian, I realized the tragedy that bin Laden is now in hell because of his refusal to embrace Christ as his Savior. I think it's perfectly okay to have both sentiments. My rejoicing wasn't vidictive - more like relief. And perhaps the spiritual implications can spur us on to reach out to believers in our own spheres of influence - since we never know how the Lord has numbered each person's days.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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