Today in Newark, New Jersey, Whitney Houston will be laid to rest in her church that seats 1,500 with her family, friends, and lots of famous people paying their respects to her and celebrating her life. Sadly like so many funerals of the famous and the infamous, Westboro Baptist “Church” will be there to protest her death and life. They will be there with their message of hate. They will probably have signs that read “God Hates Whitney Houston”. They have even gone so far as to post a parody of one of her most popular songs, “I WIll Always Love You,”changing it to “God Will Always Hate You.”
I don’t know where Whitney will spend eternity, but I do know this: God Saves Sinners! God did not hate Whitney, he loved her enough to send his only Son to die the worst death possible for Whitney. I hope its true that she believed what she sang when she moved a nation singing… “Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. The great news of the Gospel is that the relentless love God has for us does not fade or change. None of us are too far gone to be redeemed. I know that her life was full of bad decisions, but if we are honest so are each of ours. Most of us are blessed to not have our sins broadcast on the evening news.
Late night talk show host Jon Stewart said it best, “The Westboro Baptist Church is no more a church than Church’s Fried Chicken is a church.” It does not seem that they are going anywhere anytime soon. They are passionate about spreading a message of hate. Westboro is not a church, but neither are we if we just stand idly by and not respond with love to hurting people. Our churches have become safe country clubs for the forgiven rather than rescue stations for the hurting.
What if every church in America had the same passion and fervor to spread a message of love and the hope of the Gospel? What if every time a soldier was buried, the church was there to love them? What if every single Mother had the church’s help and support? What if we actually clothed the naked and fed the hungry like we have been commanded to? Could you imagine what would really happen if the Body of Christ actually loved people without an agenda?
People are not listening to the message of Westboro because whatever their message is can’t be heard over the hate. Love speaks louder than hate. I hope someone loved Whitney enough not just to tell her that God loved her, but that the Creator of the universe died so that she can live. Let’s not let our message be silenced because we hated instead of loved.
Today, silence hate with love. Reach out to someone that is hurting. Don’t just settle for going to church. Be the church.
John 13:34-35 NLT “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”