Welcome back to Second Chance Wednesdays! It is once again time to turn to the People of the Second Chance's poster series, Never Beyond. If you are new to this campaign, you can read more about it and find links to all of my Never Beyond posts here.
This week's poster is going to be challenging for some people. POTSC decided that we should have a conversation about giving Osama bin Laden a second chance. Obviously, since he is dead, the conversation is more of a metaphor than a reality. But it brings up an interesting question. Many of bin Laden's compatriots are still alive and free. How would we treat any of them?
If you are like me, as soon as the news of Osama bin Laden's death came out, you heard/saw many people rejoicing. There were messages posted on Facebook, Twitter, and news sites that expressed happiness and satisfaction with his violent end. There were newspaper headlines that said things like, "Rot in Hell".
I am not one to celebrate death, especially the death of one who might be cut off from God for eternity, so I was not one of the people celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden. I was never a fan of the way he had chosen to get his message across to those he considered his enemies, but I never wished a bad end on him. Please do not mistake this for me not wanting justice. Consequences do not preclude second chances. Second chances do not preclude consequences. However, I'm supposed to seek justice and love mercy...
When I think of Osama bin Laden, I think of 9/11. I think of sitting in my co-worker's tiny office while the rest of the staff was in the conference room watching the Twin Towers fall. First reports had speculated that this might be the work of Hezbollah or Hamas - both Palestinian Muslim militant groups. The co-worker I was keeping company was a Muslim woman from Palestine. She grew up in the middle of discord and violence. She knew her people were hated by many. She would not come out of her office for fear of facing reproach or reprisal. In the following days, as we all found out that the 9/11 terrorists were not necessarily Palestinians but definitely Muslims, my friend did not feel much safer. The police department where we lived had voluntarily been providing security for the local mosque. Were people really willing to hurt my friend and her family because they shared a religion with terrorists?
Sadly, there were those who wanted to kill all Muslims because of what a few Muslims had done to the United States. This did not - and still does not - make any more sense to me than my atheist friend who used to compare me to the Christian Crusaders of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries because we shared a belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior. I'm not willing to call everyone on the playground a "meanie" just because there is one bully on the swings. So let's take "all Muslims" off the table. Let's talk about just Muslim terrorists.
Actually, let's talk about terrorists in general. Let's include not only Muslim groups, but all of the terrorist groups in Northern Ireland and the Basque separatists in Spain and France. Don't forget their are also Israeli and Greek terrorist groups. Terrorism is not confined to one religion or ethnicity. These groups have all been willing to kill to get what they want - to make a point. Would you love mercy for them at the same time you sought justice for their victims? Can you even comprehend that concept? Are you willing to ask God to make you the kind of person who would give any of these terrorists a second chance?
Is it just cool to look at these artistic red posters and debate what we would do... or are you ready to become a carrier and distributor of radical grace? Who would you give a second chance?