I just read that Bin Laden has been captured and killed. I expect it will be all over the news tomorrow. Truth be told, one of my first reactions was "They just killed him....? 10 tears later, and that's it?" Call me crazy, but I took pity on him...a small, tiny, almost imperceptible bit of pity...but pity nonetheless. You can call me crazy, anti-American, communist, etc. etc. etc....but the fact remains that I felt bad for him (a tiny, tiny bit bad for him). Don't get me wrong...I certainly feel A LOT more pity for those I love...you know...the good guys who have died at the hands of the cruel, terrible people out there. However, the fact remains that I do not wish death on anyone anymore. I would have preferred to see Bin Laden spending the rest of his days in prison doing some sort of menial labor and, hopefully, changing his heart for the better and seeking forgiveness for his atrocities.
I am not one to judge you for hating these guys if you do. You have every right to do so. These men are responsible for so many innocent deaths, so many atrocities, so much cruelty. I don't blame you if you ever wanted to see terrible, terrible people like these guys tortured mercilessly until they died in slow, agony. I don't blame you if you wish these people would rot in hell for all eternity. I understand where you are all coming from because I have been there. I have been that person who called for the death penalty when it came to Timothy McVeigh...even though I was a kid at the time. I have been that person who stared at the television, wondering when a child-killing sex offender would be caught so that he could be killed for the greater good of mankind. I have been that person who would have gladly wished for the deaths of every terrible person there ever was...just so the world could be a better, safer place. Then it all changed over time.
One of the hardest things for me to swallow when it came to changing myself for the better, was this need for forgive. I used to scoff at people who could forgive their sister's murderer and wonder how many years of therapy it would take for these people to come to their senses. I used to think these people were crazy. How in the world could they ever forgive the people who had taken someone they loved away from them?
I don't know when my mind changed because it was extremely gradual. It started with a passing thought and grew over time. What is forgiveness? Can people truly change if given the chance? Are killers born or are they a product of the world that raises them? What if I was the one born on the other side of the tracks? What if I had been raised by someone like that? Would I have become this terrible person? Could I ever bring myself to commit such terrible acts? If so, could I ever find forgiveness? Could I bring myself to the point where I would seek forgiveness? Would I truly change for the best once I found this forgiveness. I'm pretty sure that God takes all of these questions and so many more into account when it comes to our final judgment.
People don't realize this too often, but one of the toughest things to accept about our faith is "Divine Mercy." This idea that anyone who asks for God's mercy will not be turned away. While Divine Mercy may make us a little more comfortable about our own salvation....it may make us uncomfortable when it comes to the salvation of those we deem too cruel or terrible to ever be forgiven. It makes us wonder what we would do if we ever come across these terrible people in heaven. Terrible people who, at the last minute, sought God's mercy at the time of their death. People who found the same salvation we found after we lived our entire lives striving to follow Christ's example. How could they possibly deserve heaven when we worked so much harder at it?
Yet, the truth remains. We could never deserve heaven ourselves if we refused to accept these terrible people in heaven. You see, if God was able to accept these people then we had better be able to accept them as well. God knows our hearts and the hearts of others and if He forgives these people...then we should forgive them as well. This idea is a tough pill to swallow....The idea that terrible, terrible people may also find the salvation that we seek.