You Cannot Hate People into Heaven


“God hates gays” said on the front of the hateful bright yellow t-shirt. The girl wearing it didn’t look much older than my son. She could have been a high school student or someone in her early twenties. Two days ago as I walked by the corner where protesters of the Lady Gaga show stood on the streets of Nashville, I couldn’t help but notice the scene. For some reason this young woman was further away from the rest of the angry pack. I felt compelled to talk to her, but our exchange broke my heart.

You cannot hate people into belief in God

I didn’t want to shout or call attention to us and attract the rest of her angry clan, so I quietly walked up to hear and said, “My dear, God hates sin, but He Loves people. He cannot hate gay people. He died for them.” She jumped to attention as if not expecting my words and mumbled something that sounded like misquoted Scriptures. I tried again to reason with her: “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He loves us no matter where we are or have been.” She stop making eye contact and walked away from me mumbling something I didn’t understand.

Can we hate, antagonize, shame, or ridicule people into belief in God? Can an angry-filled protest drive those who need hope the most into the arms of a hateful god? Of course not. It broke my heart to see and hear Christianity being represented by hatred. That’s not the God I worship nor the gospel message I’ve read in the Bible, but somehow it was the only message on that busy street corner.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but should those of us who worship a loving God have protested the protester  by wearing  a “God Loves Gay People” t-shirt? Is that the answer?

Too often hatred speaks out while love watches silently.

We must do something about that. While I try to figure out my responsibility in this dilemma, I know one thing for sure: hatred will never lead anyone to faith in God.

What should our responsibility be, if any, to the hateful protests in the name of Christianity?

  • Anonymous

    I struggle with that question too. Do I yell something back at “haters”, do I wear T-shirts supportive of gays, do I buy all gays a coffee in the area and say that this is not Christianity that represents all of us? Somehow each method loses something or someone in the end. I think that for me the answer is to pick another venue and to love. Love my gay brother/sister and show that not all Christianity is ready to throw him or her into the pit. For my brother and sister the haters, praying that God will pave the way for an opportunity to help realize that he did not come to hate the world, but to love us.

  • Haters are not interested in winning people to Christ. They are interested in proving they are right and everyone else is wrong. The irony is THEY are the ones who need to experience the love of Jesus the most.

  • Pete

    So true!!!

  • Thank you for taking the time to speak the truth to that girl. As children of God, I believe that our responsibility is to do exactly what you did. In a loving, quiet way we have to be the voices of truth.

  • This is brilliant. People will never be saved by being demonized. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa T. Bergren

    On the eve of Good Friday, this makes me weep. The damage done by the people of God in his name is too often detrimental to his cause. Thank you for reaching out to one to try and set her straight. Perhaps your words will sink in, take hold, and change her perspective.

    • I pray it will, Lisa.

    • 4given

      Your words spoke volumes! The damage being done by one group of people is causing ripples throughout the Christian Community – their actions can be a reflection on all Christians and Christian Organizations – whether they mean it to be or not.nnGod doesn’t hate the sinner – not even one! But he does hate the sin. And threre IS a difference. We serve a loving God that only wants the best for each and every one of us. But we have to be willing to lay down our desires – whatever they may be – surrender our will, pick up our cross and follow Him. nn The group that held the protestors away from Elizabeth Edwards’ funeral did a great thing. And they did it in a peaceful manner… I would hope that other towns/cities would take that as a cue for how to act when they come to their community to protest a military funeral. After all, they are protesting the last rites of a person who give their life, in part, to assure that they would retain the privilege of behaving in that manner. Hopefully when they show up for ANY public event, for whatever reason they are protesting, a group of people will be willing to hold them at bay by acting in the same manner. Peacefully and without anger.

  • Amen. Thank you for this.nAnd thank you for having the courage to talk to that young woman. You might have changed her life.

    • I’ve been feeling very bold lately. I just want to use for a good cause instead of picking fights.

  • “Too often hatred speaks out while love watches silently.”nnThat’s a very true statement. Unfortunately, this goes into a lot more cases than just dealing with protesters. For example, most people don’t lift a finger to stop children from being bullied because they “don’t want to get involved.”nnA part of the problem also is that many of the vocal voices in the “gay community” tie the act of homosexuality into the person themselves as a way to try and stifle criticism. You can’t have an issue with the act (which the Bible clearly states as sin) because that’s “who we are!” They try to set up a situation where you automatically hate THEM because you don’t like something they choose to DO. So those voices rise louder, the people on the other side rise louder and in the end no one comes together on anything.nn

    • TJ

      The sad thing is your comments are just as hateful as the young person on the street corner. When did you “choose” to be straight? Tell me about your decision moment. Imagine for a moment the tables were turned and you HAD to align with a religious belief and be gay, could you “choose” and become gay? nnI’m gay. I used to say the same BS you’re saying when I was hiding from myself for 10+ years. Now I can see how even what I thought was loving was hateful.nnThe fact is NONE of us have the answer…. Lets leave the God stuff and judgement to Him. Our job is to worship Him and spread the good news.

      • TJ, I see a lot of anger in your words and I’m sorry for the times you have obviously been hurt through your life. However, your statement as written provides a good example of what I alluded to in my post. nnThe act of engaging in homosexuality is a choice. You choose to engage in sex with another person. It’s not like you walk down the street and suddenly find yourself having sex with someone without realizing it. The sinful act of homosexuality is always a choice.nnThe temptations to it are not a sin. The feelings of being attracted to someone of the same gender are not a sin. Someone who openly admits to those feelings is not sinning. It’s the sex act itself. And that act being sinful is no different than any other sin like stealing from your office or gluttony (even though some people, like that girl on the street corner, would try to pretend otherwise.)nnThe Bible says what it says, TJ. I didn’t write it. We can disagree on the interpretation of passages. We can disagree on whether or not gay marriage is permitted by the Bible. It doesn’t mean that someone who disagrees with your view is being hateful any more than someone with your view is being hateful toward Christians. It’s the motivation of the heart behind it. But when you try to meld an action with a temptation and say they’re one and the same, you’re going to have people react to you on the premise you create and the nuance of the discussion will be lost.

        • Thank you for your words, Jason. Probably the best way I’ve ever seen the subject addressed.

          • Thanks, Faye. It’s a shame we can’t actually discuss this issue many times. Usually one side or the other starts bringing in hate-driven talking points that have nothing to do with the actual issue. It’s part and parcel of the way most debate has turned in America. People won’t discuss the actual issue but just keep muddying the water with irrelevant “facts” in an attempt to smear those who don’t line up in lock step with them.

        • Cazikiel

          Check your clothing’s tags. I guarantee you’re going to hell for the abomination of mixed fabrics.nnCheck your fridge. Any shrimp sauce, or shrimp altogether? Or some other kind of shellfish? Hell, again.nnCheck your vegetable garden, if you have one. Is it just peas, or peas planted next to tomatoes? If you DO have a vegetable garden and answered the latter to the next question, climb in that handbasket now to save some time. nnThe Bible says a LOT of things. Do you quote one, or quote them all? Because unless you follow it all to the letter, you’re just following your own agenda, not the Bible–which was written by flawed men who wanted control. Sorry.nnP.S.–did you “choose” to be straight, or did it “just happen”? Was there any doubt or thought put into it, or did you just do it up?

      • unwedmotherof2

        We were given free will for a reason, and I agree that God does NOT hate gays, we are still his children he loves us reguardless, and I beleieve in god fullheartedly, he is NOT a vengful god.

  • Ryan

    In case you missed it last year, God apparently also hates Free Will Baptists. Or maybe Westboro was just in OKC for Gaga and just chose to picket our convention as well while they were there…I’m not sure there is a good response to them. They don’t seem to listen to any reason, and as you said, most of their protests are based on a view of Scripture that is sadly skewed.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t bullied into walking with Christ. It was a revelation that came through driving through the Rockies one day. I ran from people who were spiritual pimps AND I watched them to catch them in hypocrisy. So now, I walk the walk and make sure my life is a living epistle. nnThe only time Christ was angry in the New Testament was with the self-righteouse religious people. I don’t see how people who bomb abortion clinics & tell gays that God hates them can do that with a clear conscience.

  • Rev Katedennis

    The answer is to stand for your own convictions against these bullies. When they showed up in North Carolina to picket the funeral of Elizabeth Edwards, bringing their hatred and misplaced bigotry with them, there was a huge crowd of counter-protesters who showed up to stand between them and the church where the service was being held…so the Edwards family never heard them taunting and mocking thier loved one and they were permitted to grieve and honor their loved one with dignity. No one engaged them, and no one shouted back in anger…and they couldn’t stand that they made fools of themselves, so they left before the service was over. It’s sickening that they bring along minor children to these ‘hate fests’, shove them to the front of the line and force them to participate in this destructive behavior. It may be free speech, but it’s also putting lies into the mouth of God.

  • Jill K

    Perhaps people turn to hate when they have not seen a better way or they have come through a personal crises without having been touched by the Holly Spirit. It could be they are calling out for help; hard to know, but one day that young lady will look back on what you said and it will have an impact.nnNot once but twice the Holy Spirit guided me back to a life with Christ. While my physical body was not in the grave my spiritual soul was on the verge of the abyss. nnI find that the following is a powerful passage and I am not sure why your post made me think of it.nnJonah 2:2n”In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.u201dn

  • I’m not sure they’re trying to win people to Christ or cause reconciliation of any kind between God and man. nnThanks for the post — and your actions.

  • GREAT POST!nnI have been struggling with this whole thought a ton lately as I see “churches” protest funerals, this type of hate and so called “Christians” that are condemning and not loving.nnMy struggle is this and I am truly not sure where I stand on this still. If you try to hate someone into belief or heaven, are you really a Christian or taking faith hostage? nnIsn’t Christianity and its bible based teaching not fully focused on one real idea which is Love? And if that is the case, then any form of hate or lack of Love towards others is going against the whole idea.nnI have many friends who are gay and do things that I personally would not engage in. I do not hate them in any way. I love them as they are wonderful friends and people and supportive of me and my family. By loving them I also have their respect which allows me to enter their lives and talk with them and vice versa. That is how you introduce people to another line of thought. If I were ever to say I hate your choices and you, I would lose that friend and dialog forever.nnOkay, done now. Sorry for the lengthy dialog!

  • Cazikiel

    I myself am an Atheist, but I find harmony and friendship with those who Believe as long as they, too, can appreciate and/or find common ground with my honesty, conviction in my own perspective and don’t preach. I’d say that an advantage I have is that I don’t follow some weird, contrived credo (or in most people who like Bible-thumping, a ‘Cliff Notes’ manual where they pick and choose what abominations they’re going to preach about, leaving out the whole ‘mixed fibers’ issue) on who to hate and why. It isn’t to say that ALL Atheists are 100% tolerant and loving, but there’s definitely a difference between myself and an overzealous fundamentalist in that respect. It’s sad that the love that SHOULD come from Christianity isn’t as strong as it should be, or that the “I’ll pray for your soul” many of them declare to gays/people like me is an underhanded, passive-aggressive tactic that screams, “See? I’m better than you, because I supposedly *care* about you, when I’m just being sanctimonious.” Saying “I’m going to pray for the victims of Hurricane Katrina” is drastically different than pointing fingers at a gay couple with the same words spoken.nnAs for the WBC, my solution/way of dealing with it is ignoring them. It gets harder and harder with every protest they make, but they’re doing it to make people watch/send camera-crews/hopefully get beat up so they can sue. If no cams showed up, just the biker clubs that go with funerals to drown out the sound (more heroes), they’d starts getting snuffed out like a dying candle. nnTo end this soapbox ranting, lol, thanks for trying to intervene the way any good Christian should. If there were more people like you, everyone could get along.

  • Mary

    My heart breaks over this. nMay God Bless you.

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