How to Heal a Black Eye

What Biblical Christianity truly looks like. Image via the Huffington Post.

I’ve been waffling for months about writing this sort of post. Kristen Lamb once said that unless it’s their brand, authors shouldn’t blog about politics or religion. My brand is essentially “Be nice to people.” It’s what I write about. It’s what I hope encompasses all faiths and beliefs. But I feel strongly about this particular topic and I’m afraid I have to get Biblical. Please keep an open mind.

I’m a Christian. Not Catholic, not Baptist, not Methodist, etc. Just Christian. I attend a Church of Christ (a group that is autonomous from other groups), study the Bible, and try to live my life as best I can according to the teachings in the New Testament and learn from the examples in the Old Testament.

I’ll be honest. The actions of the Westboro Baptist Church over the last several years have really irritated me. It smears the name of Christian. They spread their message of hate in the name of God, and they have no Biblical authority for behaving in such a manner.

*Deep breath* Please don’t let the WBC influence how you perceive my following words. I believe the Bible teaches that engaging in homosexuality is a sin. But I will never tell someone that they will burn in hell for it. I’m not their judge. God alone is this kind of judge. The one Bible passage that I think the WBC really needs to consider (because their actions would suggest that they never have) is from 1 Corinthians chapter 5 (I’ve highlighted key phrases):

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Sin is sin. Whether you engage in homosexuality, or are a drunkard, or even someone who simply forsakes the assembly, there is no sin that is “bigger” than any other. And if you make the choice to sin, that’s YOUR choice. Just as it’s my choice to stick to my faith. As long as there’s no oppression going on between people, I really don’t see why we can’t be friends.

Because you know what? I sin too!!! And so do the people of WBC. Everyone sins (1 John 1:8). So who are we to throw other’s sins into their faces? Jesus never cast a stone against the adultress though he was the only person there without sin. But you know what he DID tell her? “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:2-11)

Did she obey? Maybe. Maybe not. But he didn’t treat her as less than human because she had sinned. And I’d be inclined to think that she would be more likely to obey because Jesus didn’t lay into her for her behavior.

Do the WBC people really think they are changing lives by their message of hate? I’d like to ask them in the words of Dr. Phil, how’s that workin’ for ya? What it does instead, is give a black eye to the face of Christianity. But you know how the black eye can heal? By the actions of more people like the counter-protesters who offered condolences on the death of Fred Phelps Sr. THAT is an example of Biblical Christianity in action. (Colossians 3:12-15) In the face of hatred and malice, these people showed compassion.

What I want most is for people not to assume that I hate those who are openly homosexual just because I believe that the way they live their lives is sinful. Plenty of other people live sinful lives and I don’t hate them either. I’m not going to cram my faith down anyone’s throat because I wouldn’t want others to cram their beliefs down my throat if I didn’t agree with them. We can find other things in common. However, I’m also not going to be shamed into not sharing what I believe because others have misrepresented it. And seriously, if you don’t want to talk about religion, we don’t have to. But I’m here if you do.

Let’s focus on what unites us.

Please share what you think! Do you feel the counter-protesters have the right idea? Do you disagree? If so, why?

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “How to Heal a Black Eye

  1. Good discussion on the topic. Yes, I think the counter-protester are attempting the right track. Though it may go unheard, as the body, we reach out, in love, to those we disagree with. Without compromise or anger, we can let people know that we care and we know the healer for all their hurts.

  2. A friend of mine has this phrase on her Facebook Cover:
    Don’t judge me just because my sins are different than yours.

    I like that.

    I don’t have an opinion on the counter-protesters except to say that sometimes, despite meaning well, something is not received well. But, in the end, we’re not called to base our actions on how other people will perceive them but rather on their obedience to God. At the end of the day, He’s the one we each answer to – regardless of which side of the street/protest we stand on or which church (if any) we sit in.

    Kudos on tackling a controversial topic! 🙂

  3. In John 14:27, Jesus gave mankind a parting gift. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” But before He did that, he imparted this, from Matthew 22:37-40 – 37 …“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Love the Lord with everything in us. Put Him first. Well, God created all of us.His hand is in all the world. To put Him first is to put Him before ourselves. To put OTHERS ahead of us. And Jesus did not say “Love only your neighbor across the street who goes to church every Sunday and takes care of widows and orphans.” He said simply “love thy neighbor.” That means love the neighbor next door who worships differently, love the thugs and the murderers, the immoral and the depraved. Love the Islamic nation and the Buddhist. He did not tell us that we need to love the things these people DO, but the people themselves. Sometimes, I think people misunderstand this, feeling that we must hate not only the deeds but the people who carry them out. But God’s message was about love. Not about hate. So when I see signs like WBC members carried with messages of “God hates _____,” and heard them singing modified Ozzy Osborne songs, they totally angered me. Because God gave NO MAN the right to speak for Him, and nowhere did he state that we are to hate anyone. In fact, we are admonished to turn the other cheek when wrong is done to us. We are ordered not to judge others for the slivers in their eyes because we carry a whole plank. We are told to spread His message but when people (towns) are not receptive to dust off our feet and move on. And finally, we are commanded to love. The way to heal the black eye WBC and others place on Christianity is to follow those commands. He never promised it would be easy, and many days I find it hard to separate righteous anger about an action or situation from my own feelings toward the people committing them. But as you said, we’re all human. And all humans will sin and fall short of God’s glory. You’ve made a great start toward healing with this post. Thank you for showing the courage of your convictions.

    • Thank you so much for your words Kay! It’s exactly what I believe! (I was even thinking about the speck and the plank in the eye last night when thinking about this topic.) ❤

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