I can see the anger spewing already at the sight of this post…
“God forgave Bin Laden? No way! The guy was evil. He got it all wrong. He made all the wrong choices.”
Others will point out the reality of hell as a possibility for all of us. A statement which is undoubtedly true in my own mind.
However, because hell is a reality, that doesn’t change the unlimited forgiveness that God offers to everyone, Bin Laden included. Hell is simply a state of being that is in the absence of God.
Forgiveness is always offered to everyone. Whether that person accepts God’s reconciliation or not is another story.
Jim Tighe, who lost his dad in the 9-11 disaster and is a candidate for the diaconate, put it best today in this snip from a touching post:
As a disciple of Christ, my life is given to his work. It is the work of bringing people into the light, not condemning them to the darkness. Osama Bin Laden was always easy to condemn into the darkness. On this issue, it is easier to go with the Philadelphia headline “Got the Bastard,” then it is to follow the words of Christ. But I’m going with Christ. This is, as best we know, a lost soul. Nothing to cheer about. That’s not what we do.
This is no way a defense of the man. He chose to live in the darkness. Any condemnation comes not from God but from his own choosing, just like the rest of us. He got what he chose, life in the darkness.
Whether Bin Laden or any of us choose any form of that darkness over God in perpetuity will be between us and God. The rest of us are left to speculate and I would say to even do that, is haughty and unhelpful.
Prayer is where we are most called. Knowing of God’s mercy, perhaps we should pray that peace can find the hearts of all those who choose darkness and that they can find their way back to light at some point.
After all, if God wills everyone to be saved, than perhaps so should we?