Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Fred Phelps of “God hates fags” fame is dying, or so claims his family. The anthems of rejoicing echo across the Internet. When this awful man is finally dead, perhaps his hate-filled “church” will dissolve. One less evil in the world. Many people who have been victim to his protests, pickets, and bigotry are eager for Phelps to breathe his last. I can’t say I blame them. And yet…

I recall a winter day in freshman year getting a phone call from my Mom. She said Obama had a big announcement. When  the president declared to the world that Osama bin Laden was dead, cheers went up from the impromptu watch party that had materialized in my dorm room. One of my neighbors poked her head out the door and shouted, excitedly, down the hall: “Hey everybody! Bin Laden’s dead!” All through the night and into the next day, me and my friends posted ecstatic Facebook statuses and whispered about it in class. Bin Laden’s death wouldn’t bring back the victims of 9/11, but at least the country felt a little safer and a little fairer.

Amidst the hoopla, there were wise voices among us who condemned our happiness. A terrorist’s death represented a soul lost forever, a person who went to his grave unrepentant and unredeemed. Conversion is cause for celebration; elimination is not. I suppose the same applies to homophobic church planters who believe Mr. Rogers is in hell. God loves Fred Phelps, too, enough to die for him. And because we are God’s children just as Phelps is God’s child, he is our spiritual brother. We ought not to play the Prodigal’s older brother.

It is so easy to wish for evil men and women to die because it seems like the evil dies with them. However, that is not how sin works. Evil is only extinguished by the light of Christ’s loving sacrifice. A human does not need to die an earthly death to die to sin. Their new birth is what we should be celebrating.


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