The Only Victorious Death

I never really write anything very controversial on this blog.

But, I must say, today is very confusing for me.

Especially as a Christian.

As I sit here with my roommate Jeannie, we are trying to understand what type of reaction we are meant to have in the wake of yesterday's events.

Surely I am...

-Relieved that the man who planned hateful attacks against the US, and who wished so much death and destruction against our country and against Christians, is no longer in power. A strong symbol of hatred and terrorism has been removed.

-Thankful and grateful for those who risk their lives day in and day out to protect me, my family, my friends. And for our Intelligence force whose minds and intellect and determination are able to penetrate and disrupt the plans and schemes of those who pursue evil aims. I have many friends who have committed their lives to these things and respect and admire them greatly.

-Sympathizing for those who suffered even more personally than I, at the hands of this man. Particularly on September 11.

And yet,
I do not feel celebratory today.
I do not understand the way that we often think about "Victory", especially through death.
I do not see Americans dancing in the streets and want to go join them.

Wasn't there only one death that was victorious? Wasn't there only one death that we, as Christians, are meant to celebrate? And, didn't we do that--just last week?

I believe in justice because my God is a God of justice. He killed His own son in order to punish all sin and uphold his Justness.

But God never intended for us see justice and forgiveness as mutually exclusive--He certainly didn't see them that way.

Neither did he intend for us to confuse justice with revenge.

I just don't get the feeling that God is celebrating right now. When do we ever read about him celebrating the loss of the lost sheep?

And, as strange as this sounds, I don't feel celebratory either. An evil man died, and he didn't know the love of God. He never experienced the sweetness of salvation. He never danced in the freedom of sinful chains being broken and falling off of him. Call me crazy, but to me, this is not good news. In fact, as Christians this should be our greatest sadness, because surely it is God's greatest distress.

And right now, it isn't the justice of the United States that he is facing. It is the justice of God, the only true and perfect judge.

There it is. My first, perhaps controversial, but very honest reaction. It's not meant to be offensive. It's not meant to be disrespectful. And anyone who knows my heart, will understand where I am coming from.

So today, my heart is full of sweet joy and celebration over the death of one man.
The man whose death was truly a victory over evil.
The only man whose death should be considered a victory over evil.
Jesus, my friends. Jesus.

I will be celebratory in the knowledge that His purposes are perfect. That he hates what is evil. That He has conquered the evil one for us. And that the troubles and evils of this world will not have the final say. Oh no, but "Because of His great love we are NOT consumed, for his compassions never fail...I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (Lamentations 3:22, John 16:33)


  1. Elise, you are amazing! I agree with you and never could have put that into words, especially as clearly and nicely as you have :)

  2. Elise, my dear daughter, you said it just the way I was feeling it. I felt so sad that he died without Jesus. I am glad that we do not have to worry about him any longer though. It remains in God'd hand as always.

  3. I absolutely agree with what you are saying here, Elise, because I have been feeling this way since last night.

  4. I also agree. My students yesterday asked me if I was excited that he died. I said that I get excited about celebrations, and events, and perhaps even Duke games, but I have never been excited about anyone's death. Relieved, yes, but excited, not at all.

  5. Thank you for this very well written response to the news!

  6. I have felt the same way Elise! Friends are posting great Bible verses proclaiming the truth about how we are called to treat our enemies. I really appreciate the verses you chose.

    Isn't it a relief that we are not called to judge? God is judge.

  7. I agree whole-heartedly. I know it's hard to put myself in these shoes, but if I had lost a loved one in the 9/11 attacks, I don't think I'd feel any better about it knowing that another human being was dead. The only death about which we should ever rejoice is that of Jesus...because we know that in his being put to death, he bore the weight of all our sins so that we might be given a second chance at eternal life. The most intelligent, most profound thinkers of our time cannot even begin to comprehend the glory of such a sacrifice and the depth of God's love for us. (We can certainly appreciate it, though!) Like it has been said, we are not the judge--who are we to deem if justice has been served, if one man deserves to die over another? We are all sinful from birth; it is only by Christ's love and forgiveness that we are saved. So let's set a good example, mmmkay America?!

    (That being said...I am also relieved to hear of this big step for our country, and to know that this man is no longer a threat.)

    Thanks for posting this, Elise! It is always an inspiration and assurance to read your posts. :)


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