There are some who believe God hates you and me. I have been on a letter-writing campaign, periodically submitting comments to the web site of the Westboro Baptist Church, the home of Pastor Fred Phelps, a person well-known as a preacher of hate. Hoping that others may gain something by seeing the comments I’ve submitted, I have been periodically posting these comments on this blog. What follows is an oldie but a goodie.
Dear Mr. Phelps,
Please understand that if I didn’t sincerely care for the collective souls of the Westboro Baptist Church, I would not keep writing to you. By the way, it is not in my nature to care for people who I consider so filled with hate. My natural tendency would be to hate you right back (see, I’m not immune to hypocrisy). So the only explanation I can give you for my compassion is this: as with all good things, it comes from God. God has somehow softened my heart and truly filled me with care and compassion for all of you. That is why I keep writing.
You remain in my thoughts and prayers daily. And it was while praying for you that the idea for this letter came to me. God put it on my heart, and in my mind, to write again to you today. As with all things, His words convey the message that is on my heart, far better than any words I could come up with.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” (Matthew 19:21
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)
“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:4)
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)
“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” (John 12:49-50)
“The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10)
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Forgive others as God forgives us. In all things, do as Jesus did. Speak Gods words, not our own. Jesus being both God and human while He walked the earth, we will do well to speak as Jesus spoke while we still walk the earth. This is what it means to follow Jesus. This is how we should act, feel and speak, if we are to truly follow Jesus.
And this brings me to what has been on my heart. Where did Jesus ever tell anyone that He hated them? He chastised people, to be sure. But He never once told someone He hated them. Nor did He tell anyone that God hated them. And neither should we!
You are not following Jesus! Please heed His warning:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Please Mr. Phelps! Honor your savior. I beg you to open your heart and see the truth behind your actions. But don’t listen to me; listen to Jesus, and follow Jesus.