Here is the question I received based from the weekend message.
Q – You talked about people not being honest when they twist the words if the Bible. Is this why some people are suspicious of Christians due to negative Christians who spread hate (ie westboro church)? Do we have an inner sense of truth even if we don't believe and that's why we don't believe the twisted messages? Why do people believe those hateful views?
A – I think it’s important for people to realize, first, that the Westboro church is basically a two or three dozen people all related to each other. As far as I can tell they are a group akin to the KKK and skinhead groups that use the Bible for their own purposes. They are not people of the Word—shaped by it or concerned one bit to really understand it. And I do believe they know they are twisting and using the Bible for their own purposes. They are haters, first and foremost. And, yes, their use of the Bible adds to the impression that you can make the Bible say anything you want it to say, so why bother with it.
I don’t understand it. I’m not sure anybody does. They are the stuff genocidal groups throughout history are made of. Except, in this case, this group doesn’t seem to have the evil genius of the ones who start movements.
As for people citing groups like this to discredit Christianity: I also believe that deep down that people who do this are well aware that this is unfair. Every philosophical, religious and political movement has people like this related to it. The person citing Westboro or other evil so-called Christian groups knows this. In fact, they have some people like this in their own families. They would not want to be discredited in everything they do because of their crazy uncle or evil great grandfather, but they discredit others by taking this kind of cheap shot. Just another way of suppressing the truth.
But they’re not alone in doing this. We, as believers, do the same thing in our daily life when we want to discredit others’ perspectives. I do this. It’s partly why I can see through it! And it’s only one more reason we as believers should be the humblest people on earth. We know better. We have the Bible’s witness to us that we are prone to suppress the truth, yet we still do it. We don’t need to win arguments or defame or look good because we have everything we need in Christ. Yet we use anger (aggressive and passive aggressive), cheap shots and bad logic to make our points in personal conflicts all the time. To win. We need God’s grace daily. We need to be people who offer God’s grace to people who hate us or try to discredit us. We can do it from the position of strength and acceptance we have in Christ.
Q – How do you share the message without sounding judgmental? I've been told that calling people (including myself) sinners is judging. Any insights would be helpful.
A – Aside from what I already said above, some people will think what they want to think no matter what we say or do. And when someone accuses us of being judgmental for calling ourselves and others sinners, we can thank them for proving our point—they just judged us (which, apparently, they think is a sin) and we can admit they are right about us (we are indeed judgmental).