October 23, 2010 in Features

Members of Westboro Baptist don’t speak for Christians

SteveMassey
 

They don’t speak for us.

By “they,” I mean the eight members of Westboro Baptist Church who brought their circus of hate and condemnation to the Inland Northwest this week.

By “us,” I mean Christians who believe in the Bible and follow Jesus Christ.

They don’t speak for us.

In case you missed it, members of the Topeka, Kan., church made short, venomous visits to Gonzaga University, the Moody Bible Institute, Whitworth University and North Idaho College.

For a few minutes on Thursday and Friday, they waived signs and hurled insults at educators, students, theatergoers and anyone else within earshot.

Their purported aim was to condemn homosexuals, although they also claim to hate Muslims, most Jews and just about anybody else who isn’t like them.

Don’t believe for a minute that somehow these folks speak for Christianity. They don’t.

Yes, the Bible teaches that homosexuality is outside of God’s best; it’s not his design for human sexuality, and is sinful.

So, too, is a hateful, condemning spirit. Or coveting. Or gluttony. Or gossip.

You see, any list of sin gets really personal, really fast.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite!

“First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5 – NLT).

When Jesus said “Do not judge,” he did not mean that we cannot discern right from wrong, or call sin what it really is. He means self-righteous judgments that point to sin in another person’s life, while completely disregarding our own sin, are wrong.

And lest we be deceived, the Scripture tells us this about ourselves, “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” (Romans 3:23 – NKJV).

It’s instructive that Jesus reserved his harshest warnings for religious people who hypocritically condemned others while ignoring their own soiled heart-attitudes toward God.

One such group of Pharisees was about to stone a woman guilty of adultery. Without condoning or excusing the adultery, Jesus said to the blood-thirsty Pharisees: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).

All rocks dropped to the ground.

I pray the group from Westboro will drop its rocks one day soon.

God’s solution to our sin problem is not condemnation, but an offer of forgiveness and grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The anger and condemnation of legalism will not purge sin from our culture, nor our own lives. It takes a work of grace to save us and sanctify us.

To any Christians reading this, let’s counteract the hateful antics we saw this week, but not with rocks of our own.

Let’s just treat all people with dignity and grace. Let’s speak the truth in love. Let’s leave condemnation to the only one who judges hearts rightly – God himself.

And to anyone led to believe that this tiny group from Kansas somehow speaks for Christianity at large, let me make this clear:

They don’t speak for us.

Steve Massey is the pastor of Hayden Bible Church in Hayden, Idaho (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or steve@haydenbible.org.


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