Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi And The Image Of God.

"When we break down, it all breaks down. That's just how it works. You can bend it, and if you make it hot enough you can bend it in a circle, but you can't break it. When you break it, it all breaks down until there's nothing unbroken. It starts here and now."
                                                                                     -His Grace Sir Samuel Vimes
                                                                                                            "Night Watch"

     I don't have a lot of faith in the new Libya. It's a country that I have a certain affinity for. In high school, I was a Libyan representative in the security council of our Model UN. I learned all about Gaddafi; I was his representative. (I won second place) So when I heard that Libya was in an uprising during the recent Arab Spring I kept an eye on the news. Don't get me wrong, I sided with the Libyan freedom fighters (history is unlikley to remember them as rebels I think) like the rest of the world. Gaddafi WAS a despot, he WAS an autocrat. He called down air strikes on unarmed civillians; hard to root for a guy like that.

     There's another thing that Muammar Gaddafi was though; an image bearer of God. Gaddafi WAS a man, he WAS human, this means he was created by God and bore His image (albeit poorly) on this earth. That simple fact means that he was entitled to something he didn't receive at his death: dignity. The reports comming in of Gadaffi's death, or rather the way he died are sketchy at best. It'll be a while before we get the true story if ever. Stories vary wildly, but video that has surfaces on the internet show Gaddafi being manhandled, beaten, dragged, stripped, and stabbed. There is even a story floating around that he was sodomized with a combat knife. His last words were allegedly: "Don't shoot" then he was shot.

      Don't shoot...he had surrendered, he had lost. It's hard to write this post. It's hard to plead mercy for someone like Muammar Gaddafi, but Sir Samuel up there is right, when we break down, when we become the beast we are fighting, it all breaks down. The new Libya could have risen above Gaddafi, by giving him the dignity he didn't give others. Offering the mercy he didn't. Proven that they are not him by being better to him. They failed though, the new country must begin it's history with a black eye. I think it's sad, they're not in an insurmountable position, but they could have started better.

     This raises a new question, how ought we, as Christians, respond to the death of Muammar Gaddafi? Can we rejoice with the end of his regime and be saddened at his treatment? is that the only appropriate response? We all bear God's image in this world and not a single one of us deserves to. Is this the real problem of evil? Not "why does an omnipotent God allow evil" but How do Go's children respond to evil in the world?

     I read a story this week, about Henry Tandy. He spared a young German lance corporal's life in WWI. This is not uncommon, but that lance corporal grew up to become Adolf Hitler. I was conflicted about this story and wondered if his decision to save a nameless man's life ever ate at Tandey. My wife reminded me that mercy is always the better choice. 

     I don't have all the answers, I'm not even sure there are any, but it's times like these I really can pray "How long Oh Lord, will the wicked gloat? How long until You make all things new?"



  1. Well said, very well said.

  2. You make a lot of good points Kev. I've seen an odd set of polar opposite comments regarding his death. Some basically rejoicing, others oddly claiming he was basically a fine guy and it's all just media distortion (yeah bizarre). I think yours is the first thoughtful consideration of it that I've seen yet.
    My old nature sprouts up in cases like this and I want to cheer and take some nasty joy in the death of a murderous tyrant. But then I remember I don't deserve God's mercy any more than Ghadaffi, and the reminder of God's grace and my own sin humble me again.