Recently the Internet has been abuzz with news about the eminent death of Westboro Baptist Church founder, Fred Phelps. Most known for the “God hates fags” website and signs, Phelps is perhaps one of the most hated men in America. This is why it is no surprise to see comments wishing him a safe trip to Hell. However, I cannot understand this kind of behavior from those who claim to be Christians.
I have stood face to face with members of the Westboro Baptist Church and tried to have a civil conversation with them. I have been screamed at and told I am a “fag enabler” and that I was going to burn in Hell. I tried with no avail to reason with these people and show them love but was only answered with anger and hatred.
Does this mean I can hate them back? Does this mean I can celebrate when their founder and patriarch is on his deathbed about to meet his maker? NO!
I thought a lot about this for the last 24 hours and realized how heart-broken I am about this. While I do not know his heart and whether or not he actually has a relationship with Christ, I can say with certainty that I am worried about this man’s soul.
I remember sitting just a few feet away from the infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell, and feeling sick to my stomach as I heard testimony about how he killed innocent children born alive following botched abortions. I know as much as I wanted to hate him, that I was commanded to love him. I knew that my duty as a Christian was to pray for his repentance and conversion to Christ.
Fred Phelps is no different from you or me. He is a human person who was created in the image of God and is loved by God. He is someone who deserves Hell just as you and I deserve Hell. He is someone who may very well be on his way to Hell if there is no true repentance and conversion of heart. He is someone that we must love.
Sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do is to love those who anger, disgust or hurt us. Imagine how many times we have angered, disgusted and hurt God and yet He still loves us. He loves us so much He sent His Son to shed His blood and die for us.
As Fred Phelps is on his deathbed I am issuing a challenge to all Christians: Let us commit to praying for this man’s soul. Let us commit to loving him the way Christ loves us, refusing to let hatred creep into our hearts.
Join me today as I pray for Fred Phelps and the rest of those deceived by his hatred. While we can see these kinds of hateful people as enemies of true love and Christianity, we must have a love for enemies.