Rejoicing in Justice Done

Ryan Messmore /

My 8-year-old son saw the news reports about Osama bin Laden’s death buzzing Monday on our TV.

He took particular note of scenes of cheering crowds: flag-wavers in Times Square and at Ground Zero in New York City, baseball fans in Philadelphia, patriots in Boston, enthusiastic students on college campuses. All were clapping, smiling and chanting in response to the news that U.S. Navy SEALs had cornered and killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.

My son wondered about the cheering, concluding that it was OK because “this man killed thousands of others.” His questions gave us an opportunity to talk about war, terrorism and, most importantly, justice.

Perhaps many Christians shared my son’s initial uncertainty since hearing of bin Laden’s demise. Surely it’s a good thing that he no longer is able to lead murderous schemes. But what exactly are we cheering about?

Hadn’t my 8-year-old heard me talking little more than a week before, on Good Friday, about forgiveness? (more…)