You may not recognize the name Fred Phelps but I am pretty sure you would recognize his church…Westboro Baptist Church. He died today at the age of 84. You would know he and his church from the hate they have preached since 1955. The church is located in Topeka, Kansas.
I have watched news coverage of the churches members, made up of mostly family members, as the picketed the funerals of fallen heroes. I have listened to them spew violently hateful remarks toward soldiers, gay and lesbians. It appears they hate everything and everybody but themselves.
The sad thing to me (there are several sad things in all of this) is that someone could give their lives to something and in the end be wrong. This man preached a gospel of hate. I am not sure how anyone can read scripture and miss that God is love and God loves…not hate. I try to imagine Fred Phelp’s surprise the moment he came face to face with our God of love to learn and understand for the first time how wrong he has been all of his life. I can imagine him being like the rich man who wanted to go back and warn his brothers. But it’s all too late. Those words haunt me.
I am sad for the deceived. I pray for them, that they will experience the life changing love of Jesus. May we live our lives so that others can experience the love of God through us.
1 John 4:7-8 – Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:20-21 – Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.