Apparently last night Fred Phelps passed away shortly before midnight. Many people are rejoicing at this. This is an interesting thing to me. I am not really sure how to react to the rejoicing. See, they are rejoicing for the wrong reasons. They are doing so because in their opinion the scum of the earth is dead. Well, do I disagree with this fact, not really. Do I think he did horrible things and made people feel horrendous and took advantage of situations that were already too difficult for people to stand? Yep. Do I think we should cheer when someone dies because they were a poor excuse for a human, and abused Christianity for their own agenda? NO.
There are a lot of bad things that can be said about Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. I think that they use Christianity to hide behind bigotry and hate. I think that Jesus taught love and tolerance and would not approve of belittling people grieving or in any other state and the fact that this "church" chooses to do so is perverting the very foundation that Jesus Christ stood upon. That being said, I think that Christians cheering over the death of this man for the same reasons are doing the SAME thing.
If I want to picket and protest his funeral, how does that make me any better of a Christian than he was? Doesn't the Bible teach us to forgive and even LOVE our enemies? I am not saying that it is a simple task, but isn't that our instruction? How then, can stooping to his level be teaching Christianity to these misguided self-proclaimed Christians? We are doing what they are. I have to rise above and pray for his family, congregation, and his soul. I have to follow the Bible, no matter how hard it may be. I think he was a bigot, a fool, and needs to pay for his sins; but I am not the judge. He has passed and God will be his judge. I actually see him as lucky in some ways right now.
He now knows the truth. Something none of us really know. He knows exactly how God feels about his actions. He knows if he was justified, or if he was wrong. He is being judged for his sins. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. It never actually condemns anyone to hell. If Mr. Phelps was in fact saved he will go to heaven and answer for his sins. If he was not he will not. The only way to heaven is salvation. There is no alternative. All we know now is Mr. Phelps has the answers. He will answer for his sins. He will be judged. Not by you, nor by me, but by God.
I mentioned I was torn by the cheering. Many people believe, and I will admit here that I don't know the Bible well enough, that we are to rejoice at death. We are not to grieve at the passing of a loved one. How many of us actually follow this? This is probably because we are selfish by nature. We want to keep those we love around. We don't want to lose loved ones. Again, cheering for the death of Mr. Phelps here is not a pretty sight. We are cheering because we are glad to be rid of him.
Does being rid of Fred Phelps mean anything? We aren't rid of Westboro Baptist Church. I am led to believe they actually excommunicated him last year. So, they are going to continue being bigots, picketing, and spreading hate. How does helping them spread this hate rid us of hate? It doesn't, rather it furthers their agenda. So fellow Christians, I ask you this, look in your hearts and find the love that Jesus taught. Find forgiveness. Bestow it on an undeserving individual, Fred Phelps. Forgive him, forget him, move on. Spread peace, spread love. Rejoice in Christ. Amen.