Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stupid Are You When Men Hate You For Being Idiots

On the other hand . . .

My friends Pete Wilson and William Guice both posted on a certain video today. It's from the fake Christians at Fred Phelps' "church," I believe. (You know, the "God Hates Fags" people.)

This post isn't really about the video, which I won't link to. You can obviously watch it at either Pete's or William's place. I naturally find it disturbing and disgusting. It not only reveals bad theology and hateful ideology, it is a painful picture of spiritual abuse in action. (Can it be anything else when you think about the children featured in that video?)

But I thought the reaction Pete and William are honorably recommending was worth evaluating. Both of these guys are asking what might happen if instead of getting angry we respond to these folks with love. Not judgment or condemnation, but kindness.

It's admirable. But I don't think love and anger are mutually exclusive. Neither do I think harsh rebukes, if biblically sanctioned, are unloving. "If you can't think of anything nice to say . . ." is not a Bible verse. And as I think of the children, and as I think of the cause of Christ being disrespected by these preachers of a false gospel, I think it is quite loving -- of Christ and His Church -- to say these people are vipers.

Christian love doesn't mean "being nice." Sometimes it does. But not when a false gospel is being preached and when hate is being spread in the name of God. "Being nice" to them will be throwing pearls before swine. That's my take anyway.

And it's neither unloving nor against the cause of Christ to verbally take up a whip and drive them from the temple.

Zeal for the house of God consumes me. This means I love God and my neighbor enough to pronounce woes on antichrists.


Pete Wilson said...

Totally agree.

But I look at this case a little differently. Anger and rebuke is exactly what this group is looking for. The expect it. They love it. They feed off of it.

You're right in saying "if you can't say anything nice" is not a Bible verse.

But "love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you" is.

Jared said...

You're right, Pete. I just don't think a rebuke is not loving my enemy.

I think also of the watching world. If we do not expel the immoral brothers, if we do not rebuke the pharisees, what will the victims of their hate think?
Perhaps it is love for victims to be tough with abusers.

I'm also not saying we should be hateful in our rebuke. I'm not saying we should pray disaster upon them (as David did in some of the imprecatory psalms). But as I see the biblical pattern of dealing with self-proclaimed Christians who preach a different gospel, I don't see Jesus or Paul, for instance, being nice.

I think it's possible, without despising kindness and because we value peace, that we may love and pray for our enemies by embodying a Jesus-centered righteous anger.

Thanks for commenting, bro!

Jared said...

Oh, I didn't comment on your saying anger will only feed them, but I meant to.

Maybe it will. Probably it will.

By my conscience, it's only important that I do what is right. I don't think we're responsible for how other people react, but for how we respond and treat others.

One could argue also that being sweet to them will only feed their presuppositions about all Christians besides themselves being "wimps" or something. It could be suggested that by being nice to them they will only further see you as they currently see you: weak, meek, and inconsequential.

But that doesn't (and shouldn't) stop you from being nice if you think that is the right thing to do, however.

So either way, you and I both need to respond the way we believe the Spirit would have us respond, regardless of how these folks will respond to that.

Hope that made sense.


Anonymous said...

i have been wondering lately...
what is this "love" that we speak of that comes into our lives and changes our heart?

this love that we think we have met yet can not understand?

this love that without it we are nothing or gain nothing?

it is a wonder, a miracle, this love.

Jared said...

Nancy, it is. You're right. How measureless is God's unfailing love! How unsearchable his judgments!

I don't know if any of us will ever "get" it, save perhaps when we see him face to face. We screw up what love is a lot, don't we?

Anonymous said...

I had to comment here... Jared...

Oddly enough, if you were to check out Marillio Amorim's, blog... there's a post there about another supposedly "fake" church doing wacky things.... some sort of retro-disco worship...

Several folks, including Pete Wilson, responded to that particular post in a way that I see as almost opposite to what he states about the "gay-bashing" church folks... and being all lovey-dovey towards them...

My first thought about the post at Mo's blog was... why post it in the first place? It really smacks of a somewhat "better than thou", perhaps even haughty, attitude... regardless of the video content... which, in all fairness, is prone to garner a variety of commentary...

There were several more comments posted by other "Christian", too... and ultimately I came away thinking.... that it's mostly a matter of opinion, perspective and what one thinks they know... (not what they know about Jesus)... when folks start babbling out in the blogosphere... and I commented on the commenters that commented about the video... in a not so "loving" way... in hindsight... I may have pulled the trigger without thinking... (I do that sometimes)

Butf I were to be so cliche' as to say... we all probably need to think WWJD.... in more situations... I might be guilty as charged...

But I think you're right about the Fake Christians... rebuking them is not wrong... patting them on their little fake christian bottoms and telling them we love them isn't necessarily bad, either... but it's a pseudo-tolerance... because I'm pretty sure those that would say "we love you and we're praying for you" to their face are probably thinking something totally different internally... I know... I've had folks tell me that many times... only to find out that loving me and praying for me was exactly what they weren't doing... really...

So, crack that whip... turn those tables over... and tell the vipers to get out of the temple... Jesus did...

.... I think there might be a lot more "fake" Christians who think they're authentic, too... maybe I'm one or I've been one... I suppose God will share his thoughts on that with me... when the time comes.... hmmm... do you know of any good deals on asbestos???



Jared said...

My friend Bill at Thinklings once wrote a brilliant piece called "I Have Identified the Problem . . . And It is You."

It was about how we are so stuck in thinking everyone else is the problem. The problem with the Church is seeker churches or judgmental Christians or Republicans or Democrats or whatever. It's always "them."

But it is us.

And we are so quick to sell out our brothers and sisters for a little good public relations.
Which is stupid and unbrotherly.

We ought to do what all families should do: love each other always, discipline each other when necessary.
The avoidance of conflict creates long-term yuck in families. And so it goes with the Church.

nhe said...

I'm not sure this has really been mentioned yet, but Phelps calls himself a Christian - that's why the rebuke is an appropriate response.

If these were self-declared Muslims bashing gays, that would be different. We would preach the gospel to them.

But with a false-gospel group claiming to be "Christian", I think its biblical to say that the rebuke is first, and then we preach the "real" gospel to them........if that doesn't work, we don't eat with them........right?