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“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

If God is love then does He hate gay people?

March 20, 2013

The Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, might have finally met its match.


This is the opening line in a story in MSN news.

Just in case you’re not familiar with what’s happening here, The Westboro Baptist Church is the one that does things like going around to funerals for service members who died in combat and says that God hates the U.S. and God hates gay people (except they use words that I’m not going to).

So I’m reading this latest item relating to them and can’t help but wonder about something -

There are two verses in 1 John that many people are at least aware of the intent of what they say, if not actually aware of the verses themselves:

1Jn 4:8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

and

1Jn 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him

To sum up these verses, as well as the entire letter, the New International Bible Commentary says of 1 John -

The latter part of the Letter is dominated by the great affirmation God is love, as the earlier part is by God is light (1:5). The practical corollary of God is love is that whoever lives in love lives in God (4:16).

This all begs the question -

If God is Love -
and
if this particular church says God hates <gay people>
how can that be?

How is it that Love can hate?

Beyond even that -
how can Love hate something that Love Himself created?


To explore that, let’s look at another verse that many people know,
plus the one after it - John 3:16-17 -

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Jn 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Notice what verse 16 says -
whoever believes in Him -
not the straight people who believe in Him -
not any specific type / color / sex / nationality / whatever people -
but
whoever believes in Him.

And then verse 17 says -
not to condemn the
world but to save the world -
not to condemn certain types of people -
but to save the
world - all people -
who believe in Him.

whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life
that’s the key -
nothing more -
nothing less.


Love doesn’t hate.

Love loves.

This is a concept that’s really hard to understand -
really hard to actually live out -
especially without God -
without love - God’s love.


So - keeping in mind that “love” below means “God’s love” not human love -

if God is Love -
then God must love everyone -
just like He says.

That then, must mean that God loves gay people.
It also means that we (Christians) are to love gay people as well.
That further means that God’s churches (His people) should also love gay people.
Finally, this means that the Westboro church should also love gay people.

Oops.

But - let’s not stop there.

if God is Love -
then God must love everyone -
just like He says.

That then, must mean that God loves the Westboro church people.
It also means that we (Christians) are to love the Westboro church people as well.
That further means that God’s churches (His people) should also love the Westboro church people.
Finally, this means that the Westboro church should also love the Westboro church people.

Oops again.


Is something wrong with this logic?

We seem to have a conflict here -
but what is it?


I can think of at least a couple things.


First - there is this from Jesus in Matthew 7:1-6 -

Judging Others

Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

Mt 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Mt 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Mt 7:4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

Mt 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Mt 7:6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.


There is also this from John 8:3-11 - which is very much in line with verse 5 above -

Jn 8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group

Jn 8:4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.

Jn 8:5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

Jn 8:6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.

Jn 8:7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Jn 8:8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jn 8:9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Jn 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Jn 8:11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”



first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”


This is what Love is about.


Love loves too much to leave people where there are -
God loves too much to leave us where we are -
God loves us so much that He wants us to be less like us and more like Him -
God loves us so much that He gave us His Son as a payment for our sins and
God loves us so much that He gave us His Son as an example of how we should try to live.


I suspect that -
God’s message to both the Westboro church and the gay people is pretty much the same -
and that message is something along the lines of
“first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
and
“Go now and leave your life of sin.”



Further -
I suspect that message is for all of us.

For those of us who are Christian -
it’s given to us to show how we are to live -
to follow the example of Jesus -
to do these things.


For those who aren’t Christian -
it’s also given to show how we are to live -
to follow the example of Jesus -
to do these things.


Notice -
the message is exactly the same -
whether you are a Christian or not.


Why is this?

The reason I said it this way is because being Christian doesn’t mean we are perfect.

It means we are to try to live a life patterned after Jesus Christ.

Not that we will succeed all the time -
because we won’t.

For the Christians -
when we fail -
ask for forgiveness -
ask for help from God -
remove the plank -
and go forward and try to live a more Christian life.


For the non-Christians -
please look at us for what we are -
people - plain, ordinary people -
trying -
trying and failing and trying again -
trying to live as Jesus commanded -
trying - failing - removing a plank - trying some more…



Ultimately my message here is that we should not condemn either group.
We should love both groups.
We should pray for both groups.
We should pray for forgiveness.
We should pray for the removal of planks.
We should pray for going forth and sinning no more - at least for trying to do this.


“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”