Love > Hate


General Conference protest

United Methodist activists form a human shield to block demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church on May 4 outside the 2012 United Methodist General Conference. All rights reserved by United Methodist News Service

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”
(Jesus, John 13:34-35)

As a United Methodist clergyperson, I followed our General Conference. Maybe I should say “loosely followed.” I’m not one who enjoys administrative process, I see it as a necessary evil, so I was not an intent observer. The lead pastor of the church I serve was an alternate delegate hosting a blog for our conference delegation, and most of my news came from him. That is until Thursday, my day off, when I popped onto the official website.

On Friday news came through Twitter that the Westboro Baptist Church folks were across the street from the convention center in Tampa where the conference was being held with their signs of condemnation – announcing what they believe God hates. One Twitter post reported that across the street there was a single person holding up a sign that said, “God loves everyone.” I have no idea if that is true, but I sure hope it is.

I firmly believe love is greater than hate, and one person can make a difference. The Bible reminds us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

I don’t know the answer to these issues within our church, but I do know this: “He loves us! Oh, how he loves us!” Sinful though we are, he loves us.

It is so easy to get so focused on the sins of others that we lose sight of the fact that we are all sinners. That was the point of Jesus famous illustration about trying to take the speck out of another’s eye with a plank in our own (Matthew 7:1-5; Luke 6:41-42).

I’m a sinner. You’re a sinner. Everyone you meet today will be a sinner. But we are loved and forgiven by grace greater than our sin. May we love one another as God has loved us.

Love>Hate. Pass it on.

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