By now we all know that Yassar Arafat is dead, and as Christians we know that he has gone to meet his Maker. There is no reason to doubt that he has already been consigned to an eternity of facing the wrath of God which burns against sin. How do we, as Christians, react to this?
I have read some rather disturbing articles over the past few days where the authors took delight in his suffering, expressing great pleasure that he was in hell, facing an eternity of torment. While he was an exceedingly evil man and one who deserves all that is coming to him, we should not rejoice in his suffering, for to do so is to indicate that we believe we aren’t quite as bad as he is. But for the grace of God, there go I. As believers we know that it is only God’s grace that we have been constrained from being as bad or even worse than him. And of course we know that we deserve the same punishment he is receiving.
We should not rejoice in another man’s suffering. If we are to rejoice, let us rejoice in God’s justice. God Himself rejoices in His justice. While He gets no pleasure from suffering, He does get pleasure from the execution of justice in which He increases His glory.
So if we rejoice, we must rejoice in God’s justice. But rejoice also in God’s grace which has been extended to those who are His. It is through His grace that Christ fulfilled His need for justice on our behalf.