Yes, Osama bin Laden did evil things. Yes, he despoiled the image of God that was put in him as well as in each of us. But if we allow his choices to change our choices, to make us people ready to kill — for the sake of “closure,” for the sake of “justice,” for the sake of “revenge” — then we have done the same. We have despoiled the image of God in us.
Strength, courage, and righteousness mean living the values we hold dear and not allowing ourselves to be transformed in reaction to the chaos and brokenness and evil around us.
When we are better than that, when we can uphold the value of life, all life, when we can love the humanity in any human being, even in a man consumed by evil, then we reveal something truly extraordinary, the likeness of the living God.
And so I did not find reason to celebrate this weekend over the news of bin Laden’s death. It was an occasion not for joy, but for sadness at the ongoing price all of humanity is paying for the hatred and suspicion and vengefulness that set us against each other.