I have been devastated over the violence in Aurora, CO. My mind was filled and my heart was distressed. There was so much I wanted to write, needed to share. But nothing would come. I began and began again, over and over in my attempt make sense of the evil that took hold in one young man on one dark evening in the presence of the innocent. But the words were nonsensical. While on Twitter, I saw a tweet asking for support in stopping the Westboro “Church” from picketing at the funerals of the victims of the shooting. And I paused.
The Westboro “Church” came to my hometown some weeks ago, during the filing of Washington’s Referendum 74 (which would allow Washington voters the chance to vote for or against the same-sex marriage law that was passed by the legislature earlier this year). They came to show their ‘support’ of the referendum, to make sure everyone knew their position on gay marriage. They stood on the capital lawn, held up their signs, and dared anyone to fight them. They stood outside my sisters’ high school and ‘preached’ their brand of Christianity.
But they were ignored, drowned out, pushed aside. They made no mark.
When I saw they were going to Aurora, CO, the tears wouldn’t stop. How dare they, I thought. How could they? Why would they? I was distraught, my vision blurred, my heart pulsing. They have no right to be there, to further hurt the families of the victims. They have no right to take over their grieving, to trivialize their mourning with even more hatred. I was frustrated beyond anything I could handle.
So I wrote a letter for Westboro. I wrote to them as a follower of Christ and as a fellow human being. I wrote what has been on my heart for weeks. I wrote knowing it may not mean anything, but needing to say it regardless.
To Westboro “Baptist Church,”
I’m usually one to sit back and observe. I watch things and write them down. I don’t rock the boat or tend towards controversy. But not today. Today, I’ve had enough. Today, I’m overwhelmed and saddened. Today, I speak my mind in honesty and sincerity. Today, I will not let you speak while others cannot.
I hear no God in your message, no Jesus in your words. There is no salvation in what you ‘preach,’ no comfort in your ‘church’ family. There is no love in what you say or in the actions you take. There is no church when you meet.
You should not be a household name. You should not overwhelm the press with the hatred you spew. You have no right to attend funerals that mean nothing to you, to protest in cities where you do not live. You have no right to think you’re doing good, when you act only for yourselves.
You do not speak for the church I love. You do not speak for the God I know. You do not know forgiveness, grace, mercy, or love. You do not have power. You will not win.
My heart breaks for you. I can’t imagine how the hatred you allow into your soul can leave you satisfied. I don’t understand how you think what you ‘preach’ to the world mirrors the life of Jesus. I am baffled by your words and your actions. I’m heartbroken for the lives you’ve touched. I mourn for you. I pray for you.
God loves you. Not because of what you teach, but in spite of it. God loves you regardless, because that is the God who created us. God created us from love, not from hate. He created the world out of love. He gave us breath out of love. He gave us second chance after second chance out of love. He sent His Son out of love. He gave us salvation, mercy, and grace out of love. He gave us heaven out of love. He gave us eternity out of love. He gave all His people love. He is not a God of hate, He could never be. Hatred is weakness, and God is not weak. He is beyond you, above your preaching, free from your message.
I do not hate you. I may not like you, but I cannot hate you. There is too much of that in this world for me to add to it. It is not how Christ lived on earth; it is not how God intended for us to act. I wish you could see the hurt you leave in your wake. I wish you could see the harm you do in the name of Jesus. But I cannot.
So instead, I pray for you. I pray that the hatred in your heart is taken from you and replaced with love. I pray that your eyes can be opened to the message of love and mercy that Jesus preached. I pray that your soul is healed by the grace of God. I pray that you can know the Christ you speak of, that the Holy Spirit will fill you. I pray you can find peace outside the darkness you spread. I pray God will free you from it.
The saddest part? If you saw this, you would only laugh. You would shrug your shoulders and think, “Who does she think she is?”
I am a child of a loving God. And I will no longer be silent.
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