Usually I don’t use big words, but Schadenfreude says something no other word expresses. I have seen the word in my readings, and its meaning is easy to grasp from the contexts, but I never heard it pronounced until recently. You can discover the meaning and pronunciation from Dictionary.com or from Lisa Simpson.
Essentially it means to take delight in someone’s misfortune. I think this is among the most dreadful violations of Jesus’ admonition to love others. Matthew chapter 5 reports Jesus as saying:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
How Osama bin Laden Changed My Life
On September 9, 2001 I turned 50. After some reflection I concluded that though I had turned 50 the world had not changed.
Two days later, planes flew into the Twin Towers. I was in a mall early that morning when someone called to tell me that a plane had flown into one of the towers. Shortly afterward came news about the second tower. The mall remained almost empty that day, but a number of us were in Sears for hours watching the bank of TVs in the electronics section. We watched the first tower collapse—and then the second one. And we watched them collapse over and over.
There was little talking—only watching. I felt a heavy, dead gloom inside. The mall closed early and we all went home, but the heavy gloom went home with me. All America felt that gloom.
I had become a bit tired of corporate life after 25 years, and as I dealt with my gloom over the next few days I decided to leave corporate and start a business in my home. I struggled for a few years and never reached the income I had made in corporate management. Perhaps I made a bad decision in my moment of deep gloom, and Osama bin Laden was a strong influence in precipitating that decision.
Bin Laden’s Demise
The hunt for bin Laden went on, it seemed, forever. And then one day the United States found him and killed him. Bin Laden could torment the world no longer. Along with many in America and around the world, I was relieved. But it became another day in which I was glued in horror to the television. People were celebrating, which I expected, but the tone was not one of relief—it was glee!
People filled the street outside the White House cheering the death of bin Laden. They were not celebrating just the end of the perpetrator of terrorism; they were celebrating retribution and revenge.
Again I felt a deep gloom; that evening I posted on Face Book:
Shall I cheer the death of bin Laden? He was cruel. He was dangerous to civilization. He promoted hatred and violence. It is fitting that he died the way he did. His death was appropriate and even necessary, and I am relieved that he is dead.
Yet I do not cheer. He was a person, and the death of any person is a sad occasion. We killed a man–sought him out and killed him. Did the United States do wrong to pursue him and kill him? No. But, though necessary, it was a solemn act, not a cheerful one.
When Saddam was hanged, perhaps it was appropriate. The wildly gleeful response of his hangmen, however, was not. Defense and justice are necessary, but vengefulness and hatred of the enemy will never make us better people. Osama bin Laden is gone. I am glad. But I do not cheer.
Surprisingly, I received a few positive responses to my post:
1. I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. ~Dick
2. I agree, guys. I felt uncomfortable with the cheering in the same way I thought it was disgusting when there was video of cheering on 9/11. It had to be done but I don’t feel festive. ~Sandra
3. Tim…all day yesterday I struggled with those very thoughts. It felt so unpatriotic and I felt like it was only me. I mourn the continued violence. Am I glad one of the worst perpetrators has been brought to justice and stopped? Yeah…but like you I am not cheering. ~Amy
How Must I Respond to Evil People?
Does not the Father love all of us? Does not his love include the monsters as well? I must align my perspective with that of the Father, which is to bring healing to all of us broken and misguided people. I must not hate instead of love.
We all need healing of our alienation from the Father, ourselves, and each other. Some need a LOT of healing. Sometimes this comes in our lifetime, but perhaps healing and forgiveness comes after this lifetime. What is the limit to the Father’s forgiveness? Will he forgive Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot of their massive atrocities?
If he does, will you be angry? Will you cheer their reconciliation or will you demand revenge? Do you embrace Schadenfreude? I cannot.
I was glad to read your response to the death of bin Laden.
So many today scream for revenge.
The media encourage them.
My personal belief is that God does not punish anyone.
So hell is impossible.
What happens to people like Osama bin Laden?
Perhaps there is a kind of rehabilitation process.
According to Love.
One thinks of the rosebud in Citizen Kane.
Do we return to a childlike innocence?
Yes Michael, the need for revenge is strong, and many of us have difficulty overcoming it. But the Father does not pursue revenge. I believe that at some point we all have opportunity with a clear mind to accept the Father’s invitation of eternal life.
I think that if bin Laden accepts the Father’s invitation, he will be fully forgiven. If not, I suspect he will cease to exist. This is not punishment; this is what happens when one does not have life.
Well said Tim.
Tim, I think you hit upon one of the biggest pieces of baggage that drives people away from Jesus when you said, “i suspect he will cease to exist.” The choice has always been between life and death, not life in paradise or life in eternal torment. Satan’s lie, “you will not surely die,” is believed by many Christians and has fostered eschatological concepts that distort the Gospel and drive many people away from Jesus.
Precisely Marc! The choice IS between life and death–not paradise or torment! And the result of the misconception is just as you describe–the alienation of many people away from Jesus.
Thanks for sharing this Tim. It is interesting to know that you and I are the same age and left the corporate world about the same time to pursue other interests. You are spot on regarding the proper response to those that do evil. When a judge condemns a person to death they used to say, “may God have mercy on your soul.” God is the final judge, and we must not presume to know the eternal outcome of anyone.
Hi Marc, perhaps we should have gone into business together after corporate!
I really like your reference to the words of the judge: “May God have mercy on your soul.” There is a justice that must be delivered by society, but it is never the last word on the destiny of the offender.
If you lost a loved one e.g. a wife, son or daughter on that dreadful day you might have a different opinion.
The everlasting fire is prepared for the devil and his fallen angels, not human beings. (see Matthew 25:41). Satan and the demons have already been judged and condemned to death. If in the end all human beings repent and reject Satan’s way, then they can be reconciled to God and those people whom they may have wronged. If this comes to pass, then none will perish. This is not an unreasonable hope to have, but it is not a certainty.
Marc, I agree that it is not an unreasonable hope that none will perish, but you are right that it is not a certainty. But I believe, as your do, that those who perish will not be tortured but will likely cease to exist.
Phil, I hope that is never the case. Should such a tragedy happen to me in the future, I hope I can maintain my alignment with the perspective of the Father.
I do not believe that Satan is a real being.
He is an explanation for why bad things happen to good people.
If the Father does not punish us there can be no hell either.
I agree with you Michael. I do not believe Satan is a real being. The entire myth of the defection of Satan and the battle of the angels is without biblical basis, though it is elaborated in the Book of Enoch, which does not appear in any Jewish or Christian Canon.
Though I have addressed this elsewhere, I have not done so on this blog. Perhaps one day I will.
For me the problem is a little more complicated. Take the example of an action movie. At some point the villain, maybe in the moment he thinks he is triumphant, suddenly experiences a reversal, and perhaps dies in a spectacular explosion, lasting just long enough for him to comprehend that he has failed in his evil plan. The audience cheers. The source of that delight is not entirely hatred for the villain but also joy that justice has been served and the good delivered from evil. That’s a little different from Schadenfreude.
Such works of art let us exercise parts of our emotions that it would be better not to exercise in everyday life, and can help us learn how to deal properly with real-life occurrences. A proper response for an American Christian to the completion of the mission to find Bin Laden would be (1) joy and pride that our military men safely brought him to justice–delight is not too strong a word; and (2) sorrow that circumstances required the deliberate killing of a human being. (Maybe there are other appropriate Christian responses.) Christians should not feel guilty about the first response, as long as they also keep in mind the second one. The reactions of younger people can be excused for not having learned both, especially since we don’t do a very good job of teaching them how to cope except by total indulgence or total repression.
Welcome Charles, I don’t think you have commented before.
I think your two points are well stated. And I also agree that many younger people have not learned them. A friend who read this article today reminded me of the response of the students in my Southern school to the killing of President Kennedy, which was announced during class. It was one of jubilation; it was pure schadenfreude, and I was an joyful participant. But I was just a kid–hopefully I have developed.
Your example of the action film is also good. It teaches us to respond to right and wrong, but it is only a movie. No one is actually hurt or killed, and we all know that. Perhaps the cheering of the audience is appropriate. But if that attitude bleeds over into real-life situations, I think something is amiss.
Thank you for your contribution. It was very insightful.
I have just learned that one of you old friends is also one of my best friends. I think you know who I mean. He is the artist of Mize, and it was he who reminded me of my schools’ reaction to the death of John Kennedy.
It is good to have you here!
This is a great article! It calls us to an uncomfortable place because we’ve all had enemies who hurt us and we definitely never want to forget what happened on 911.
That said, I think Jesus taught us to have compassion for those who do not have compassion for us. I think the reason Jesus tells us to love our enemies is because He knows the harm that comes from bitterness and revenge.
I was both glad and sad that Bin Laden was dead, Glad that he can no longer harm anyone on this earth and sad that he probably never knew God’s love. It was because he did not know God that he was an unsafe person in this world. Whatever God decided is fine by me as far as him or Hitler being in the future because if they are still unsafe, they just won’t be there. I believe we will someday see restoration of all our loved ones along with the victims of the Holocaust. If God restores Hitler or Bin Laden it will only be because they too have been restored and are not the people they once were.
I am glad you like it Cherilyn, and I know it makes us uncomfortable. We often want the satisfaction of seeing our enemies suffer. But I don’t think this is the Father’s way. If the Father can forgive me, he can forgive others, and I should be able to forgive others.
In my opinion you are right on target with your observation that if the monsters of history are with us in the afterlife, it will be because they are no longer the persons they were.
If God weeps over His lost children, then how can I rejoice?
The devil thing is not something I am ready to get rid of. Jesus said He saw Satan fall from heaven. Revelation 12 speaks of a war in heaven. I think there are a few verses that tie this war to our very existence. I realize you want to do a blog about this so I will read it and discuss later. I am curious how you resolve the fact that Jesus acknowledged a devil and how you would explain all the suffering on this earth without a devil. Looking forward to your blog on this.
Read the context in which Jesus said he saw Satan fall from heaven. It was just after his followers were rejoicing at the great works they had just accomplished in Jesus’ name. When good overcame evil, “Satan” fell from heaven. Good triumphed; evil lost.
Thanks Sheila! I think you are right on target in your analysis!
Whether Satan exists is not, in my mind, among the most important issues, but I do not believe he exists. All the passages used to create the myth of Satan and the war of the angels are mostly unrelated and refer to other things.
Jesus responded to the successful reports of his 72 disciples after their short mission by saying, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke chapter 10). I believe this was a symbolic reference to the advancement of his message.
The Book of Revelation is an example of apocalyptic literature, which was written in Jewish and Christian circles between 200 BC and 100 AD during times of extreme stress. It is heavy in symbolism and larger than life events.
In chapter 12, the writer is thinking of the church, or the people of God, symbolized in the woman. The dragon represents all the forces of the Roman Empire that seemed about to crush the church. It is not a reference to angels and demons battling it out. The message of Revelation is that the church ultimately survives and thrives.
I had not intended to write about these things for some time to come, but I have had several inquiries recently, and I think I will address them sooner rather than later.
I am not offended if people see things differently than I do, so I am interested in hearing others ideas. I agree this is not the most important issue in our salvation, but at the same time I believe it could shed light on our situation on this earth. One thing that is very confusing is the fact that Revelation is not written in literal language but symbols. I am curious to hear more from you on this topic, but I don’t want to derail this thread and detract from the beautiful message you gave in the article. 🙂
Cherilyn, I also enjoy hearing other people’s viewpoints. Otherwise, how can I ever change my own if they are wrong? Even though Satan and spiritual warfare are not among the most important issues of faith, they are important.
I have decided that I will begin my series on this subject within the next week or two. Thanks for your interest, and I look forward to your responses.
Zuallererst hast du völlig recht, dass wir als Christen die SCHADENFREUDE unbedingt vermeiden sollen! 🙂
First of all, you are entirely right we ought to avoid Schadenfreude as Christians!
Yet this seems to be a very natural reaction when confronted with people we feel morally superior to.
I agree that Bin Laden’s death was a good thing because he was a murderous and dangerous criminals. But regardless of the harm he could have caused alive, would it have been right to punish him anyway? In other words, do you believe in retributive punishments?
Due to their materialist and reductionist beliefs, Western liberals think that people are completely predetermined to act the way they do, and without genuine freedom, the idea of retribution no longer makes any sense.
But if we truly are free creatures, is it right that people get punished in a way proportional they have inflicted harm to others?
We probably both utterly reject the idea of an eternal hell.
But would a TEMPORAL hell be right for people like Bin laden, Hitler, Stalin and so on?
I don’t know and would love to learn your thoughts on that.
Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son
Although Tim rejects the intermediate state for human souls and does not believe that Satan and the fallen angels exist, your question about how those who act wickedly in this life are judged is a good one. The traditional and pervasive belief of early Christians was that the soul and spirit of those who depart this life are subject to a particular judgment. Instead of soul sleep, the departure from this world and the entry into the spiritual realm is the ultimate awakening were we cannot escape the reality of what the effects of our lives have been. Because judgment can be likened unto diagnosis, the necessary treatment for healing can often be likened to punishment. The good news in this is that most, if not all, can be healed. This is substantiated by the most ancient Christian understanding of the Harrowing of Hades that took place when our Lord Jesus Christ entered the spiritual realm of the departed between His death on the Cross and His Resurrection (see 1 Peter 3:16-20).
Marc, I would not dismiss the possibility of some sort of process that might seem unpleasant as we confront ourselves after this life, but I do not think it would occur in an intermediate state (as you point out).
Some years ago, I had a somewhat obscure cancer that had a very small survival rate. The only chance was a treatment almost as bad as death itself. The chance that it would kill me was almost as great as the chance that it might help me, and there was no great chance that I would survive very long even if I accepted the treatment.
I chose the treatment, and it was worse than I could ever have imagined. It was torture for months on end, but I did not complain, because the doctors were not being vindictive; the treatment was for my own good.
If any of us experience something like this in the afterlife, it will not be punishment. It will not be vindictive. It will be for our betterment.
Thanks so much for suggesting the analogy!
Tim, Thanks for sharing your experience and relating it to the topic at hand. Although I hope the Second Coming happens in our lifetime, we are both at an age with health issues that may preclude it. If we both find ourselves in the spiritual realm in the mean time, I will try not to say I told you so.
My father is 85, with health issues. I told my priest that I try not to think about the phrase “I told you so” after he dies and finds out for himself. My priest told me that we all see through a dark glass as long as we are on this side of death. After death there will be no “right” or “wrong”–just God and his will. We’ll all be enlightened. So these petty fights over who has the “right” view of heaven and hell are counterproductive. Only Jesus came back from the dead, and he didn’t tell us his experience. He only commanded that we tell others the good news of his love.
Marc, if when we meet in the afterlife it turns out that I am wrong, which is very possible, you have my permission to tell me ‘I told you so!’; and I promise to accept your statement gracefully and we can talk about something more wonderful!
Sheila, I hope your father is doing well, though he is at an age that passing is not unexpected. I lost my father this year at 83.
You are so right that we see through a glass darkly. Some day we will see clearly. It is true that our disagreements are not as important as the message of Jesus about the love of the Father.
But sometimes people become set on very destructive speculations about hell and eternal punishment, and they create fear in people when fear is part of what Jesus came to deliver us from, so some of the discussion are important for us now, though they will not be so important in that day.
I was speaking of discussions with my elderly father. It’s pointless to try to dialogue with him. He is in the camp of those who use fear as a weapon when evangelizing. Not so much God’s love, although a passing reference to John 3:16 is included, but his view that we are all disgusting creatures that God can hardly stand to look at unless we are “washed” in the blood of Jesus. I believe we are created in God’s image, and we are basically good. The direct opposite of what he says.
I was raised in that same camp Sheila: God can’t stand the sight of us, but through the blood of Jesus he finds us acceptable. If we mess up we will burn in hell forever to God’s great delight because affronts to his infinite holiness must be infinitely punished.
This perspective is so sad and filled with fear and self-loathing. And the attitude of the Father is, as you say, just the opposite. I am glad the Father accepts those of us who are filled with fear and judgment despite our misunderstandings.
Thanks Lothar, son of Lothar, for your approval, in German and English, of my stance that “we as Christians should absolutely avoid the SCHADENFREUDE!” And I like your observation that it is “a very natural reaction when confronted with people we feel morally superior to.” That is much of the problem: a sense of moral superiority. But in truth we all hurt people–it is just a matter of scale. We are all the same, we just vary in degree. So we ALL need forgiveness from the Father and from each other.
I do believe that we, as a society, must contain and punish evil. I approve of laws, and trials, and justice. We cannot look the other way, but that does not mean we should hate as well.
I join you in rejecting eternal hell, but I cannot comment on temporal hell because I am not sure what you mean. Are you talking about fire and torment? Do you have in mind some sort of purification such as the Catholic idea of purgatory?
I needed to see this at this time. I remember clearly the first time I saw the photo array of the hijackers. I felt nothing but an immense sadness. I was grieved that so many would be so filled with hatred that they would inflict death and destruction on us. Every person in my life at that time hated those men. Hatred is not something we as Christians are supposed to have in our hearts. I immediately thought of the Bible’s admonition to pray for our enemies. I never hated anyone responsible for 9/11. I took a lot of heat for that. I’m so glad to see this. We are in a civil war of words in politics right now. It seems we still don’t understand compassion and mercy. Hatred only leads to destruction.
Thank you Sheila; thank you. It is good to be in company with such people as you (and other here). And I agree that we still don’t seem to understand compassion and mercy. That is why it is good for us to talk about it.
I am loving this thoughtful community and their points of view. Thanks to all of you who are contributing.
I enjoy it too Sheila. What a wonderful collection of thoughtful believers!
I heartily agree with you when you said, “Defense and justice are necessary, but vengefulness and hatred of the enemy will never make us better people. Osama bin Laden is gone. I am glad. But I do not cheer.” Justice, Yes. Defense, Yes. Schadenfreude, No. God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek 33:11 NKJV). This should be our attitude as well.
Thanks for your comments David, and your reference to Ezekiel is very appropriate. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked! Nor should I.
Great post, and exactly. I was not as upset over him dying as I was just completely nauseated that everyone was rejoicing about it. It was the same way when Ted Kennedy died on a homeschool forum I am apart of. No, no, no, we as Christians don’t get to be excited when the wicked die. Even the old testament pictures a God crying out for the wicked to repent. We can be hurt that he hurt us, but no revenge will take away our pain.
My dad always pointed out that he was inwardly glad to see someone suffer who had hurt him. He was not proud of that inward gladness, but was using it as an example that at the end of the day, there’s not much differece between this, and then person who then wants to see someone suffer so much that they go out and murder. This is why I’m an universalist. If a murderer doesn’t deserve God’s love, neither do I.
“If a murderer doesn’t deserve God’s love, neither do I.”
Lana, if only we could all understand that! From reading your blog, I know you have ample cause to wish misfortune on other people, yet you rise above it with grace and love. I am glad for your response to Ted Kennedy’s death in contrast to some of your associates. Without judgment of those who rejoice in others’ misfortune, we can stand up and declare another way. Some will take notice, and love will expand.
Thank you for this. I agree with your assessment.
I’ve had similar feelings when our church youth group piped in the second Desert Storm like it was the Superbowl, and a–hat jocks were cheering that people were dying. (Yes, literally, and they said so) When I pointed out that some of these people might be Christians, and many are not “I don’t care! They’re the enemy! Whoo hooo!! Get em! More! yaaay!”
I quit youth after that. I lodged a complaint “it is noted, and we will take that into consideration” and no one understood how I, the child of someone who served in the US Navy for 20 years could be so upset at such a thing. Um… because death is such a finality maybe?? Because others will be mourning this loss? Because the bible says not to take joy in this?
In the nicest way possible, I would like to mention out that pure “Schadenfreude” is not when one takes joy in something so deep as the death of an enemy. That would be “unverhüllte Schadenfreude”, or outright naked spite. I find it unfortunate that this meaning of Schadenfreude hasn’t made it over to English.
Schadenfreude’s often shown by using irony, sarcasm, scorn, satire, and sometimes malice. It’s through these reactions that one shows emotion to the person who just was so unlucky in that moment. (“Well, someone has butter fingers today!”)
I don’t believe schadenfreude covers the relief that one’s oppressor has finally been removed from the equation. I think that perhaps Entlastung, or Ablösung (this is used militarily) might cover that better.
Thank you YH for introducing us to ‘unverhüllte Schadenfreude’; my translator renders that as ‘undisguised glee’. I am sure it does not do full justice to the term.
I agree that the jubilation over bin Laden’s death is a heightened form of schadenfreude. I think believers should strive never to take delight in the misfortune of others–even in smaller matters. If we can see the problem with unverhüllte Schadenfreude, perhaps we can begin to work on its more subtle forms (irony, sarcasm, scorn, satire, and malice).
Often our culture tries to force us to conform to this terrible delight, as they did in your protest. We can stand against the tide in resisting the pressure to conform to it. Thank you so much for your contribution.
Thank you. I agree. 🙂
Before we went to war in Iraq the first time, during the run up to the invasion, a reporter interviewed a mother who was living in Baghdad. She expressed her fears about her own and her family’s safety, and broke down, sobbing. I often wonder if she lived through the invasion. It is this “collateral damage” that caused me to be against both wars in Iraq. I didn’t believe our national security was at risk, and it grieved me to see people cheer when we invaded both times. This was especially bad in the second war, when our chants were “shock and awe”. I welcome your point of view as a Navy “brat”, and I salute your parent’s service.
Thank you Sheila. My dad was largely involved in jobs that kept him out of the “theater”. We were glued to the television though, and it was very nerve-wracking.
I often wonder about many people I’ve seen who were interviewed during those years.
Three degrees of evil:
1. Being indifferent to the suffering of others
2. Enjoying the suffering of others.
3. Enjoying causing the suffering of others.
This is a great list! I love your insight.
I believe Jesus calls us away from all of these levels in order to embrace others with love, but I agree that there are degrees of evil in our attitudes toward others, and you have captured them well. I am afraid that far too many of us are at level #3.
I really hate to say this Tim, but this is really not one of your best posts and needs a great deal of perspective. To suggest that revelling in the demise of monsters such as Hitler, Stalin or Bin Laden is unseemly needs a great deal of qualifying. It is very easy forgiving someone that has never hurt us directly. I actually don’t think we have the right. I know of a family here in the UK that lost a son in the twin towers and they certainly wouldn’t agree with much of the rubbish that’s being written here.
Your statement, Tim – Does not the Father love all of us? Does not his love include the monsters as well? I must align my perspective with that of the Father, which is to bring healing to all of us broken and misguided individuals. I must not hate instead of love.
I believe it is a grave mistake to believe that God loves all unconditionally. It does not say that anywhere in the Bible. The idea flies in the face of what Jesus taught. Do I believe that God hates monsters? Most certainly yes! Do I believe that God wept at the demise of Hitler, Stalin or Bin Laden (as suggested above) most certainly not!
Let me give you an example of a ‘monster’ from a new book on WW2.
Johanna Alvatar was a 22 year old secretary to Wilhelm Westerheide who was a regional commissar in the Ukraine. During the liquidation of a Jewish ghetto, she was known as Fraulein Hanna. She marched into a building being used as a makeshift hospital and through the children’s ward eyeing each bed-ridden child. She stopped, picked one up and took it the balcony and threw it to the pavement three floors below.
She repeated this process. Her other speciality was to lure children with sweets. When they came to her and opened their mouths, she inserted a pistol and shot them!
On another occasion, she beckoned a child over, then grabbed him tightly by the legs and slammed his head into the wall as if dusting a mat. She then threw the lifeless child at the feet of his father, who later testified against her.
If anybody believes that God loved this woman or that there was any chance of ‘rehabilitation’ for her, then you are quite crazy. There was nothing too horrible that could have happened to this woman for her crimes. Schadenfreude! Most definitely – and a very apt German word!
Phil, I appreciate your response. There is a lot of hurt in the world. We hurt each other; and some of us hurt each other to an unfathomable degree. We are broken and twisted.
I do not think the Father is unmoved by our pain, but I suggest that he wants to heal the pain both of the victims and the perpetrators. I think he DOES love all of us unconditionally. He is not indifferent to our damage to each other, and certainly not the horrific suffering inflicted by Hitlers, Stalins, and bin Ladens. But I believe he wishes to restore us all from our brokenness.
Perhaps these monsters will see the evil they have done and be horrified by it. If so, can not the Father forgive them? Can we not forgive them? At the very least can we not take delight in their misfortune?
If the Father will not heal the monsters, then what is the limit of his forgiveness? How can he forgive me? Or you?
A very big part of the mystery of salvation has to do with forgiveness Phil. Although the thought of a Hitler or Stalin seeking forgiveness from their victims seems very unlikely, we can not dismiss the possibility. Clearly reconciliation is a very important part of the process, so if someone is a victim whose own salvation requires forgiveness of enemies, how does this all shake down?
For God so loved the WORLD. Not, for God so loved SOME of the world. We cannot fathom the love of God. I’ve quoted this before: holding onto hatred/unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That doesn’t mean you don’t want justice. It means you leave justice to God, and let him work on lifting that burden of hatred out of your soul. How much do we really trust God regarding our enemies? Remember that when we pray for our enemies, we are heaping coals of fire on their heads. What does this mean practically? That God alone is in the justice department. He hears the cries of the oppressed.
We’ll have to agree to disagree on this subject. In respect of forgiveness, I do not consider myself on a par with genocidal maniacs and their henchman who commit mass murder and heinous crimes against humanity. It’s ridiculous to suggest it. These odious perpetrators revelled in their crimes. They showed no mercy and they will receive none. No mystery about it!
Phil, you are right that sometimes we must disagree, and there is nothing wrong with that. I believe both Marc and Sheila make excellent points. Obviously, I agree with them on this issue. But you and I agree on many other things.
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osama bin laden was some made up BS because the US was running out of enemies