This week’s article is written by Mike Solomon, youth pastor of Godfrey First United Methodist Church, 1100 Airport Road.
I have to admit it, I have some major problems with the folks from the Westboro Baptist Church. These are those people who picket military funerals and carry signs that list all the people God supposedly hates, and talk about how dead soldiers make God happy. My guess is that most, if not all, of you reading this very likely have some issues with them as well, and that’s probably putting it mildly. Few people can raise my blood pressure the way these folks can and I struggle to control my disgust at their actions. I am by nature a forgiving person, but I think what gets to me is the way they drag my Savior’s name through the mud and present the Christian faith as something hateful and ugly.
But Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44-45 always come back to me, “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” These words remind me that God loves the people of the Westboro Baptist Church the same way the Lord loves me. How many times have my actions or lack of action denied Christ and dragged his name through the mud? We have all sinned and God doesn’t count one sin as greater than another. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness and we will never change the world by meeting hate with more hate. I believe God is calling us to a radical love, a heroic love that doesn’t stop even in the face of opposition. That kind of love can change the world.