Today the news that Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist church, is dying is trending on various forms of social media. As well as several news sources, like this article from CBS.
I always thought I would breathe a sign of relief when he goes, but today when I was reading the news, I didn’t feel the slightest inkling of relief. I felt…remorse and a type of anxiety. You see, I’m constantly preaching love and yet toward this man I have not exercised love. I haven’t prayed for him very often, and I’m worried. I’m worried that he hasn’t truly known my God yet; the God who saves. And that makes me a little sad because I’d like for everyone to make it to Heaven. I know…there’s something wrong with me, right?
People are calling for us, for society, to picket his funeral. What good would that do? How is spreading hatred going to help us, him or anyone else?
If the world must picket, let us picket in love. Let us picket in forgiveness.
As I was writing this, I came across the following article on Facebook, shared by a friend. It’s good to know I’m not alone in what I’m suggesting.
A quote from this article says:
My final prayer is that people do show up to his funeral as a show of pageantry. I hope they show up with large, decorated signs and billboards. I hope they line the streets leading to the funeral home, and I hope that they make sure they are seen. Finally, I hope every one of those billboards and signs read, “We forgive you.”
That is my current prayer as well.
Thank You, God, for grace and forgiveness. For me, and for everyone…even Fred Phelps.