In his first letter John says:–
“Whoever is without love does not know god, for god is love” (1 John 4:8).
Not that god displays love or shows love, but that god actually is love. Everything that god says and does is a display of that love he has for all things. That, of course, would include homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, drunks and all the others listed in Corinthians. In fact, according to the Bible, every human who has ever lived benefits from the love that god shows to mankind.
In his gospel account John explains further when he said, in chapter 3, verse 16:–
“For god so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God is concerned with all men, and gives opportunity for everyone without discrimination and without rancour. To god, we are all in the same boat. The differences between us are all of our own making, but god is willing to treat us all the same, with love.
One has to wonder, then, why do so many of those who claim they serve the god who is love, display such unmitigated hatred towards other people of whose behaviour they do not approve? There are numerous examples of this from all periods of history since the Church began, and even today there are numerous extremely bad examples of it within various Christian denominations. One would be hard put, however, to find a worse example in our own time than that given by the Westboro Baptist Church. This Church has a web site, “godhatesfags.com”, which contains within its name the defamation against god that he hates part of His creation when John, in the quotation above, clearly states that god loves everyone in the world.
You will note that the name of the site is “godhatesfags”. You will observe the derogatory slang expression “Fags” for homosexuals, the people. Not “god hates faggotry” or “faggot behaviour” or “homosexuality”, but that he hates “fags” themselves, the people he made. Many Churches try to soften their opposition to homosexuality by using the expression “Hate the sin, not the sinner”. The Westboro Baptist Church does no such thing. They make it clear they hate “fags”, the sinners, the people. Not only do they hate the sinner, they libel god. John said, “God so loved the world…”, which includes homosexuals. They contradict god and denigrate the life and message of Jesus Christ.
From the language used by this Church and others with similar messages, it is difficult to understand how they can claim allegiance to Christ while acting in a manner which so clearly violates the spirit of his message. These insulting terms and the grossly offensive way in which their opinions are expressed are examples of the flagrant rejection of clearly stated instructions given by Jesus Christ Himself. He said, recorded in Matthew 5:22:–
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Those comments by god, for remember that Jesus is a personage of god, contain two warnings about insulting speech. One regarding the use of the word “raca”, the other about calling someone a “fool”. “Raca” is an Aramaic word, apparently derived from a root meaning “to spit”, and was used at the time as a disgusting, gross and filthy insult. According to Strong’s #4469 it is defined as:–
“empty, i.e. a senseless, empty headed man; a term of reproach used among the Jews in the time of Christ; an empty one, i.e. thou worthless (as a term of utter vilification).”
In modern language it means “a worthless person”, “a piece of shit” or something similar, but with the undercurrent of being someone who can be spit on with impunity because they are so disgusting. Goodspeed said that it was “sometimes heard on the lips of foul-mouthed people”, so it was apparently a very filthy insult at the time, but like many filthy insults can’t be translated into modern language easily. Jesus said that those who referred to their brothers with that insult deserved to be judged by the Sanhedrin. That was the Jewish religious court of the time, which had the authority to impose the death penalty. Obviously, Jesus considered using this word as an insult to be an extremely serious matter.
The second word to which Jesus objected was “fool”. To understand the depths of this insult we have to look at Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, which say:–
“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no god.”
Originally, the word translated “god” here was “Yahweh”, god’s personal name, and it is more accurately read as:–
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no Yahweh.’”
To call someone a fool was therefore a gross religious insult. It was tantamount to accusing a religious Jew of denying that their god existed, in a society which was fundamentally based on worship of that god. The accusation would be so scandalous that the penalty was to burn the accuser (after execution) in the fires of Gehenna, Jerusalem's garbage dump where murderers’ bodies were thrown instead of being buried, thus showing extreme contempt. Note that point, because it shows Jesus was putting that gross religious insult on a par with murder, as he had also done with those who called someone disgusting, filthy names.
How can supporters of the Westboro Baptist Church and those other Churches who use insulting language to describe homosexuals, consider they are doing god’s work when god (i.e. Jesus) has already condemned those who use grossly offensive insults to describe other people, even saying that doing so is as serious as murder? D. Miall Edwards expressed it this way, “What is beyond dispute is that Christ condemns the use of disparaging and insulting epithets as a supreme offence against the law of humanity, which belongs to the same category as murder itself.”
The Apostle Paul also said in Ephesians 4:29:–
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it might impart grace to the hearers.”
Yet corrupt sayings about homosexuals continually flow from the mouths of those who would condemn them. Terms like “fag” are corrupt words, they are the equivalent of “raca”, and those who spit them at god’s children are no better than murderers. They are not imparting grace to those described, quite the opposite. Such filth causes people to turn away from Christ, and those causing that bear the greatest responsibility, the penalty for which, according to Jesus, was to have a millstone placed around the neck and to be cast into the sea. Remember, god has said, “It is better to obey than to sacrifice”.
We should always remember that god looks at our hearts, not our genitals. As is recorded in 1 Samuel 16:7:–
“For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
God is telling us as plainly as he can that everyone will be judged based on what he sees in their hearts, their innermost being, and he will decide, nobody else. Jesus stressed the consequences coming from this in Matthew 7:21:–
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
To the Westboro Baptist Church and all others like them I emphasise that claiming you speak for god does not mean that you do! Think about what Jesus said.
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