I’m not Baptist but I’ve got plenty of friends who are and these folks coming next week to town aren’t them. The Baptists I know love God, love their neighbors and even love their enemies (just like Jesus told us to love). The Westboro (I refuse to attach “Baptist” to their name) folks spew hate. They hate America, hate this and hate that. They hate anyone who disagrees with their distorted view of God and the Bible.
The Westboro folks must not sing the song we sang a lot in the church where I grew up that said, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” They must skip that one in their chorus books.
They think that the best way to transform culture is to hate and condemn it. I think Jesus calls us to a better approach— to transform culture through love and servanthood. Jesus never picketed the Romans or the Pharisees. He didn’t dispense hate. Instead He reminded us, “For God so loved the world he sent His one and only Son” (John 3:16).
I don’t want to imitate culture; or stick my head in the sand oblivious to the various troubling happenings in the world, but that doesn’t cause me to look for a permanent marker and poster board to ready a sign with which to picket. Instead, seeing a culture in desperate need of a Savior makes me want to follow the Master’s lead and love and love and love some more. It makes me want to love my neighbors and enemies alike, to follow the Jesus model and see God recreate and transform our world until heaven and earth are one.
So when the Westboro folks show up dispensing their drool next week, I will be praying for them. I’m not arguing or organizing a counter protest. But I do hope they see in us the love that is strangely missing from their message. I hope they see Jesus in us.