As we approach the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace I think it’s a good time to consider our own views on peace, both inner and outer. I thought of this this morning as I read of the passing of Kim Jonh Il, the leader of Communist North Korea. Not surprisingly the Internet is full of jokes and comments celebrating his death. While it’s true that one less Communist dictator in the world may be a good thing, I’m troubled about the celebration of anyone’s death.
Of course, we as Christians celebrate our loved ones’ entry into eternal life, even as we mourn our loss of their physical presence, I don’t think making jokes about someone’s death are appropriate, no matter how much evil we believe they have committed, is good for us. Jesus taught us that all life is sacred, no matter how much misery that person may have brought into the world. Doesn’t celebrating that person’s death make us just as un-Christian as he or she was?
I’m not suggesting that we celebrate their life, but I don’t think we should celebrate their death either. Perhaps we should just pray for a better world and that those who would follow in KJI’s footsteps might have a change of heart.
From a purely practical standpoint, we don’t know what Il’s replacement will do. Apparently his son will take his place as leader of North Korea. He may be more of a peace-maker than his father was, or he could be much worse. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, especially in the week before Christmas, wouldn’t it be better if we all pray for peace?
Kim Jong Il is gone from this life and only God knows how he’ll pay for his sins. You and I will depend on God’s mercy when we depart this life. How often have we prayed, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”? It’s not hard to forgive small injuries but it might just be that our response to the like of Mr. Il may determine our own fate.