Bless their hearts. The Westboro folks have come to Clarksville. They want to protest at the funerals of the five "Bikers Who Care" who died this week. This isn't Westboro's usual place. They usually protest at military funerals. They carry colorful signs with very hateful messages. Today they even "tweeted" directly to my Senior Pastor and told him some rather hateful things and where they thought they were sending him because they disagreed with some of the things he said - I guess about them.
So I am risking getting some hateful posts or e-mails since I am talking about them in this post. But, of course, my eternal destiny isn't up to some crazy people from Kansas (who obviously have too much time and money on their hands since they fly all over the country to make a nuisance of themselves).
First, let me point out that I don't use the word "Baptist" when describing them. They use it in their title, but they are not Baptists. Historical Baptist theology is nothing like the hate they spew. I also won't use the word "church" to describe them because what they do has nothing to do with the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, anyway, the Westboro folks like to tell everyone who God hates and they like to tell anyone who questions them where they should go (and I don't mean down to Sonic for some sweet tea). So surely God hates them for doing all of the things that they do.
The Apostle John had a lot to say about God and love. The most famous quote from John is John 3:16
Here it is in the Holman Christian Standard Translation.
"For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
Yes. God loves hateful, terrible people. He loves murderous dictators, those who persecute the church, those who make hateful fools of themselves at funerals, mean people, ugly people, big kids, little kids, kids who climb on rocks, fat kids, skinny kids, even kids with chicken pox (oops, sorry, a childhood commercial just popped in my head.)
But what about the Westboro crowd? My prayer is that they come to know Jesus for who He really is - that they see the truth of John 3:16 in their own lives.
John makes it rather clear who the true followers of Jesus are. Take some time and read all that John had to say about love by reading the entire book of 1 John. Here is a little of what he said found in chapter 4.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this command from Him: the one who loves God must also love his brother.
These words are for us too. It's EASY to hate the people from Westboro because of what they do. It's not so easy to love them. The only way to do that is to look at them through God's eyes. 1 John 4:9-10 "God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another."