Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? . . . For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!Ezekiel 18:23, 32 NIV
I must confess that I was happy when Osama bin Laden was killed. To me, he was a very hateful person. Guilty of the deaths of countless numbers of innocent people. I believe the earth is a better place without people like him.
Repeatedly in the Scripture we find God condemning people like that. People who cause suffering to others. And it is tempting to attach human emotions to God’s judgement. But we need to careful about doing so.
This verse, as well as verse 32 below, express that God did not have the same feelings about Ben Laden’s death that I did. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Even when in his justice he punishes them, it saddens him. He would much rather see them repent and turn to him.
Every human bears the image of God within and is precious to him. And he desires to draw us all to himself. He has made it possible for all to be saved. But his justice demands that those who refuse face the consequences of that refusal.
I am not God. But I am his child. As his child I should seek to imitate him. And that should extend to grieving over those who are perishing. God takes no pleasure in their death. So neither should I.