When it was first made public that Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, was near death some thought “good riddance”. Many Christians fought these same ideas, but did not want to stoop to the tactics and methods taught by pastor Phelps. Springfiedians thought back to the days after Hailey was kidnapped and murdered to the threats that the Westboro web site made to visit here and protest at her memorial service. No confirmed reports of their presence does not diminish the bad feelings that some still have.
The Westboro Church is constantly reminding us of the things that God hates. Shouldn’t we concentrate more on what God loves. He loves each of us. He loves those who obey him. He loves the little children, the Bible tells me so. While many things are listed in the Bible that God hates, more of the things he loves are there.
Responding to hate with love is the approach that Jesus used. Even from the cross he asked, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Some have said that if Fred Phelps is in Heaven, they don’t want to go there. Heaven is not defined by any man. It is the dwelling place of God. Those of us who accept His Son as Lord and Savior are allowed to join them, when we die.
Our heart’s cry should be that pastor Phelps is in heaven. In spite of the fact we did not agree with his tactics and the way the church he founded has treated many of our heroes we should pray that they will one day realize that Jesus wanted the church to be known by our love, not our hate.
Westboro members who were protesting in Kansas City at a concert saw the sign in this photo. If the true church continues to focus on loving even those we disagree with, maybe some will realize that true Christianity is about a loving relationship with Jesus and not hate.