I read a news report today, in the wake of the horrifying cinema shootings in Denver, about statements made by members of the Westboro Baptist church.
I don’t live in the US, so I don’t know a lot about this church, but the statements were hateful and insensitive to those mourning the trauma and loss of this shocking event.
The news report showed members of the church carrying placards claiming God’s hatred towards the people of Denver, gays, various other categories of people, and towards the US as a whole. I won’t repeat any of their statements here.
My immediate response was to feel deep anger towards these people – for blaspheming and misrepresenting God in this way, for the obvious hurtfulness of their statements, and for giving Jesus and his followers such a bad name. Maybe you felt the same.
But then I remembered Jesus’ commands to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us badly (Matthew 5:44), and Paul’s advice to not use the world’s weapons in our fight against evil, but God’s weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4).
We must show love, not hate – love that wants the best for every other person. We should be praying for these poor misguided people, that God will open their eyes to the truth, bring them to repentance for their hatred and grow in them a new understanding of his character and a new love for him and for all God’s creation – including those they disapprove of.
Before you leave this blog, will you please join me in praying this prayer for the Westboro people, as well as for healing and peace for all those affected?
Let’s be part of the solution, not a continuation of the problem.