Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11
This is the time of year most people choose to show goodwill and cheer to all men. This is the season of giving, where we as a nation get together to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It is the time we choose to count our blessings and spend time with loved ones.
The Christmas and New Year’s season has never been a time for hate, even if it has been the time of increased criminal activity. However, now a group of individuals, who should be a part of spreading love and the Good News of Jesus Christ, are choosing to turn this season into a season of hate.
After the horrible massacre of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Westboro Baptist Church had the audacity to plan a protest at the funeral of the principal of the school. Furthermore, before it was canceled, they had planned to protest the vigil that would have been held in remembrance of the victims of that fatal shooting. You can read more about that story here.
Westboro Baptist Church has often made headlines because of their insensitive and hate filled flyers and signs they use to protest even the burials of US soldiers. However, the public has decided they will no longer tolerate the churches form of “free speech”. According to an article on the Huffington Post, several petitions have been issued on We the People, the website the government set up so that the average citizen could have a say in public policy. When a petition reaches 25,000 signatures, the White House promises to take a look at the petition and decide on a course of action.
One petition, the one calling for Westboro Baptist Church to be listed as a hate group, has received almost 300,000 signatures. Frankly, it serves them right. If they are going to claim the name of Christ, then they should first seek to love others the way Christ loves them. He gave Himself and died for the sins of all mankind, for such was His love for us.
Christ did not go around saying he hated anyone because of their sin. He affirmed the difference between right and wrong and asked people to sin no more. In John 12: 47 Jesus says, “I came not to judge the world but to save the world.” The world without Christ is condemned already, John 3:18.
As Christians, we are supposed to spread the message of the gospel, the fact that the savior has come and taken away the penalty of sin for all those who believe. While it is necessary to know what is and is not a sin, what is more necessary is knowing the One who has the power and authority to forgive all sin. We are to deliver this message in love, knowing that love is greater than all things.
What Westboro Baptist spreads is the devil’s lie; the lie that there is any sin too great for God to forgive. They also lie when they say hates homosexuals. God loves all of mankind and died for all of mankind. We all sin and we all need forgiveness for our sins. Though homosexuality is a sin, it is no greater than any other sin, and requires the same act of repentance.
Our goal is not to leave people in despair over their sin but to give them hope in the One who can set them free.