I knew how to respond when Dorothy threw the water onto the Wicked Witch, and she melted. After all, she was pure evil. She was green, and Hollywood has told us that if someone is green, they are evil. Life was simpler then. No Kermit. No Incredible Hulk. Just the evil, wicked witch of the west. And now Oz would be a happy place. And Dorothy and Toto, too would make it back to Kansas.
I don't know how to react today. The wicked man, Osama bin Laden, of the axis of evil, master of Al Qaeda, is dead. That's what CNN and President Barack Obama said from The White House today. It must be true. And now the US will be a happy place. And all the military munchkins will rejoice.
Joel Pollak, a blogger and Facebook 'friend' said, "In Israel, it was Holocaust Memorial Day as Osama bin Laden was prevented from perpetrating another one." That's significant. I remember 10 years ago when those young high school boys in Columbine, Colorado, killed so many of their fellow students. The date? 20 April. Why do I remember? It was Hitler's birthday and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wanted to 'honor' him in some wicked way.
I know how to react when it's Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom Hashoah. I ache for my mishpochah who were killed by Nazis. I bemoan the reality of hatred without a cause. I wish along with all other Jewish people that the world would live in peace and harmony.
I know how to react when my football team loses or my candidate doesn't win in an election. I know how to react in so many circumstances.
But how do I react when I hear that Osama bin Laden is dead?
He was wicked, to be sure. He valued evil and longed for terrorism to prevail. That's clear. His nature was tarnished, and his purposes were not civil.
But God does not delight in the death of anyone, does he? On Passover we are taught to diminish our 2nd cup, before we drink, to remember the suffering, even of our enemies. We are cautioned to limit our rejoicing in light of Egyptian pain and death.
So here we see Osama. We know he is gone. There is jubilation on the streets of many cities.
But in my heart, I'm sad. Sad at the loss of another life. He could have done so much better. He could have repented and found eternity and eternal life in Jesus. He needed to be born again and find hope for himself and for Israel and for all people.
But he didn't. As far as we know, he didn't find Jesus as his Savior and thus I'm even a bit sadder. His eternity is going to be worse than his earthly life.
How shall we react when someone passes or is killed? Look, I don't mean to demean the deaths of those thousands bin Laden killed or ordered murdered. In August 1996 Bin Laden issued a fatwa, or religious decree, that U.S. military personnel should be killed. I don't know what the families of those who have died are saying just now.
But for me, terrorism is not going to be destroyed by killing a person. No wonder the US State department is warning US citizens outside the country to be on super-guard. US citizens are “strongly urged” to limit travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations in areas of known unrest.
American diplomatic facilities around the world are on high alert, with the potential for violence expected to last for many months.
This isn't Hollywood, and Osama isn't the wicked witch. But he is dead and the wars continue. Maybe we will see peace soon. Even in our lifetime. For that I'm praying. Even on Yom Hashoah. Amen.