Meeting Hatred with Forgiveness

Meeting Hatred with Forgiveness

“Ding Dong Fred Phelps Is Dead!” 

Well, I knew it was coming after reading reports earlier in the week. And this particular headline, which declares one family’s sadness and grief with a brazen sort of glee, leaves no misunderstanding.

fredNews and social media sites are buzzing.

The infamous founder of The Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps, has died at the age of 84 of natural causes.

An announcement which I’m sure has many hoping will be the end to the hate-filled messages toward the military and LGBT communities which the WBC has espoused so vigorously, even as others are reveling over the death of this (hated) man.

The question many Christians are asking is “how do we respond to the death of Fred Phelps”? Excellent articles have been shared on websites such as Relevant, Lifesite News,  and Ed Stetzer (among many others) which I recommend you take the time to read and share.

But here is my question:

Should we not have been asking how to respond to Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church all along?

Because I do not believe his legacy is going to die with him.

I do not believe the cult (for that is what it truly is) which Fred Phelps established through his family, or the hate filled lessons with which he indoctrinated his followers, will be buried with him. The truth is, his tragic legacy will continue through the congregation of the WBC who have been picketing, protesting, and using provocative language to foment controversy in the name of religion for decades. His antithetical “doctrine”, through which he claimed to serve the Lord, is still planted within their hearts and minds.

So, the real question is where do we go from here?

We meet hatred with forgiveness.

We live according to Jesus instructions through extending love and peace.

We pray for those who hate so deeply on all sides:

” But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44 NLT).

““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9 ESV).

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27 NLT).

And by remembering:

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8 ESV)

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 ESV)

“To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20-21 ESV)

“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15 ESV)

I’m not saying to show love, mercy, grace, or peace (let alone forgiveness) is easy when it comes to the Westboro Baptist Church (and much like Ed Stetzer I am loathe to use the words “Baptist” or “church” in connection with this group/family because they represent neither). The temptation to respond with anything which likens to sympathy for the surviving family is difficult when contemplating such a man as Fred Phelps. The very thought of what he stood for is appalling which makes it hard to separate the man from his horrible “mantras.”

Standing toe to toe with hate while responding with love will never be easy.

But it is truly the strongest (and only) response we can offer if we follow Jesus Christ.

So, when you hear a conversation about Fred Phelps/the WBC or see something on social media,  just stop a moment to say a prayer for them, “for none of us is righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).  Who knows, perhaps the seeds of the true gospel of Jesus Christ will be planted in hardened hearts, softening the ground, and cultivating the Word for harvest when the time comes.

God willing.

“But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.…” 1 John 1:8-9

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The above picture is from Got Questions and includes a link to an article which I highly recommend.

About kristinemac

Kristine McGuire is an inspirational author and speaker, sharing her testimony and encouraging others in their walk with Christ.

Comments

  1. Great Info as usual. All along with this churches antics, I was always reminded of “Beware of False Prophets!” It is easy to get caught up in all the anger and hate in our world, BUT, as Christians we SHOULD be Christ like in EVERYTHING we do. Even those who demonstrate against military funerals, etc etc. We must pray for them, since we know no amount of external effort will make these people across our planet change to the better. I too have my own past, and Thank You Jesus for helping me up and out of the gutter that I allowed myself to get trapped in. This man has died and now has met Jesus. He alone will be judged with out the surroundings of those who supported him. If anything, this obituary must remind us to stop and take a look at ourselves, and let God convict us of any wrong doings, and for us to follow Jesus and let our heart change from hard to the love that can be identified in God’s word — The Bible †

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