So are you.
In the eyes of God, we all are.
Fred Phelps is a sinner. So am I. And so are you. Romans 3:23 reminds us that we are all sinners, and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God.
We’re all sinners. There are no degrees of sinfulness. It’s a binary thing, and we’re equally on the wrong side of sin. So how can I pray for God to deny someone what I received?
I have been sadly unsurprised by the comments I’ve read about Phelps. I’ve been very disappointed by who I’ve heard them from, though. People I respected have said things like “Some people NEED to rot in hell, and he is one.” “I just offered up a prayer, hoping his time in hell is just as miserable as [he] has made the lives of others.” “I hope his ride is terrifying.” “I refuse to pray for this man.”
Remember that even Jeffrey Dahmer was redeemed, folks. Those of you who are so certain about where Fred Phelps will end up need to take a long hard look at your walk. I have to believe that a God who would sacrifice His Son for the whole world would wait until the last possible moment to judge someone. If, with his last conscious thought, Fred Phelps acknowledged his sins and claimed the redemption of Jesus Christ, I would rejoice with the angels that another sinner is saved.
Other people I respect have been far wiser in their thoughts. “I am, however, continually grateful that I am not God. I wouldn’t want to be in the position to have to judge Phelps…or me.” Ouch.
A friend who is mostly atheist wrote, “While it’s easy for many to celebrate such news, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find any sort of joy in anyone’s passing, no matter what they’ve done to create suffering in the world.”
Ezekial 18 is a good chapter on God’s judgment of an individual’s actions, and verse 23 is especially noteworthy.
Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?
So I challenge anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ to do what the world calls madness: Pray for Fred Phelps. Pray as though he was your brother, or son, or father. Because in God’s eyes, Fred is just like you.