I read a news report today, in the wake of the horrifying cinema shootings in Denver, about statements made by members of the Westboro Baptist church.
I don’t live in the US, so I don’t know a lot about this church, but the statements were hateful and insensitive to those mourning the trauma and loss of this shocking event.
The news report showed members of the church carrying placards claiming God’s hatred towards the people of Denver, gays, various other categories of people, and towards the US as a whole. I won’t repeat any of their statements here.
My immediate response was to feel deep anger towards these people – for blaspheming and misrepresenting God in this way, for the obvious hurtfulness of their statements, and for giving Jesus and his followers such a bad name. Maybe you felt the same.
But then I remembered Jesus’ commands to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us badly (Matthew 5:44), and Paul’s advice to not use the world’s weapons in our fight against evil, but God’s weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4).
We must show love, not hate – love that wants the best for every other person. We should be praying for these poor misguided people, that God will open their eyes to the truth, bring them to repentance for their hatred and grow in them a new understanding of his character and a new love for him and for all God’s creation – including those they disapprove of.
Before you leave this blog, will you please join me in praying this prayer for the Westboro people, as well as for healing and peace for all those affected?
Let’s be part of the solution, not a continuation of the problem.
As far as I can tell, there is no actual “church” called Westboro Baptist…they are, as far as I have found, simply a front for a particular hatefilled rhetoric…
I’m with you, though, on your responses… I feel fury at Westboro for what they represent and for their effective misrepresentation of God’s grace and mercy… but at the same time, they deserve pity because they don’t realize it…
I remember feeling equally shocked, horrified and angry when I watched BBC documentary maker Louis Theroux spend time with members of the Westboro Baptist church (mostly made up of one extended family) last year – the title of his documentary was “A weekend with the most hated family in America” – I think you can watch it on youtube, but you probably already get the idea of what they’re all about; inciting racism, homophobia, hatred and prejudice etc.. I am perplexed at how individuals who claim to love, read and live by the living word can distort it so much? Last night I listened to an interesting sermon by Tim Keller on evil and spiritual warfare and he made a great point about how we need to remedy/fight the evils of this world with Christ-like strength; grace; servanthood; love; compassion. I join you in prayer!
Thank you for the reminder to pray for these misguided people. Every time I hear about them like you I feel anger that they would use God to spread such hatred. But God would not want me to hate or feel anger either, so I know we are called to love and pray, I just need a reminder from God’s servants to remind me and restore God’s peace in my life… Blessings ~ Patty
I like your ending… Let’s be part of the solution, not a continuation of the problem.