Fred Phelps has died. His name may not ring a bell, but his actions will. He was the man who founded the church whose members protest at military funerals by carrying around signs that proclaim, “God hates fags!”
Several posts on Facebook have marked this occasion; they contain a disturbing trend. Coming both from evangelical Christians–who desire to distance themselves from Mr. Phelps–and from the homosexual community–which understandably is no fan of his–these posts veritably dance on the man’s grave, proclaim his condemnation to the deepest pit of hell with an air of unconditional certainty and even joy, and show no pity. And why is this type of post justified? Because Mr. Phelps was a “hater,” and as such, he evidently deserves it. Therefore we hate the hater. And what does that make us? Haters. The assumption being that his hate was wrong and misdirected, but that mine–aimed at him–is right and good. And who determines whose hate is aimed at the right object? Well, I do of course! So goes the broken logic of broken people.
If God does not exist and if He has not spoken, then so be it. The only way to discriminate between “good” hate and “bad” hate is my personal feeling. I am the arbiter of truth. I determine that which is right and that which is wrong. And since I am my own god, I have determined that it is right and good to hate Fred Phelps. But if God does exist and He has spoken, then His Word tells me that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Not Fred Phelps, but me. And God says that human ugliness and sin, in all its brutal, perverse, and wretched forms, can be redeemed, for Christ died to redeem.
I do not know the eternal fate of Fred Phelps. I do know that it is not mine to decide, and certainly not mine to post on Facebook. He was, like me, a broken, twisted, wretched man, desperately in need of a Savior, and I hope to the core of my being that he found Him before he died.
I hope that you will find Him too.