Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Osama bin Laden is dead.

This was announced from the White House just this week, Sunday, May 1. CIA Operatives found and killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Ironically (or sadly may be a more fitting word), I first learnt about this on Facebook. The majority of my friends’ status updates had to do with this matter. But I was…disappointed, to say the least, to see that their words seemed to somehow celebrate his death.

Now, I am not going to say that Bin Laden did not deserve death, but simply because it is not for me to say. Whether or not he deserved to die is better left to better people. Personally, I can say that I am relieved to know that a man with such ferocious power is no longer a threat to the safety of good people around the world. I can say that I am proud to be of the same nation as the millions of good men around the world who fight and give their lives to protect good people.

But I cannot say that I would ever be proud of any one’s death, even a man such as Osama bin Laden.

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for sometime: Hatred. What is hatred, and why is it wrong?

What is hatred?

Well, let’s start with the opposite of hatred. What is the opposite of hatred? You might say that it is love. And, to an extent, you’re right. But personally, I believe that the opposite of hatred is truth. See, truth is objectively good and verifiable to all people through objective and unbiased reasoning. But hatred is a disposition that disregards the truth so that one might act as one pleases without fear of the repercussions of truth. Hatred is a lie one tells oneself to convince oneself that he or she is not doing anything wrong.

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining him.” (1 John 3:15.)

Hatred can be a mortal sin. Just as a man who looks at a woman with lust commits adultery in his heart, so too does a man who looks at his fellow man with hatred commits murder in his heart. Many guided examinations of conscience include sins of anger and hatred under the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Another attack on truth via hatred would be a sin that often encompasses all other sins. Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a lie, based in pride (as is all sin), and a man who hates is a hypocrite at best. Now I’m not condemning these people. I know that many of their intentions are good, and I know that I am often included among these people. But good intentions do not a good act make. Hatred against a man such as Osama bin Laden, for example:

Yes, he may have done very horrific things.

Yes, it can reasonably be stated that he was hateful as well.

But is that the best way to combat hatred? With more hatred? Hatred is like a fire or a disease; it is all-consuming and infectious. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” These words hold great truth.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20.)

God calls us all to love one another. Any one who hates his fellow man can not love God. This is the Word of God calling out the hypocrites and telling them as it is. He who does not love his brother can not love his God.

Osama bin Laden is dead. Practically, this may be considered a beneficial event in the constant struggle for lasting peace, security, and freedom. But it is not something to celebrate like this; death never is. One should not rejoice in the death of man unless it is the shared rejoicing with Christ because of a soul’s completed journey to salvation.

In matters of life and death, no one of us can ever truly pass judgment on another. Unfortunately, sometimes we have no choice, and judgment must be passed based on reason. We can use our reason and come to a close approximation of what is just and execute it with appropriate action. But none of us can lie to ourselves and those around us and deem it justifiable to hate others. Especially to hate others for being hateful.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:43-44.)

Let us not hate our enemies. Let us not hate those who persecute us. Love and prayer are the only weapons to combat hatred. Christ Jesus Himself tells us this.

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

–Booker T. Washington