Easy to oppose

March 19th, 2019

With a look, a gesture, even just a few words, we can quickly become someone’s enemy, instantly placing ourselves into a locus of opposition. We may learn enemy behavior through family, friends or culture, but few of us are molded into an enemy mindset as poignantly as Megan Phelps-Roper.

A former member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, Megan was holding signs at demonstrations and espousing hatred by the age of five. This group continues to cause turmoil and controversy as they protest particularly sensitive events such as military funerals. Fueled by hatred, the group has made (and continues to make) headlines and adversaries.

The power of engagement

When Megan was old enough, she took her protests to social media. Through twitter, Megan would respond to many of the hateful comments people posted, but occasionally conversations would develop. According to Megan, these exchanges were “civil, full of genuine curiosity on both sides.” In particular, she found that talking online allowed for courteous conversations through a buffer of time and space.

Occasionally, the strangers she engaged online would come and visit her when the group would protest in a nearby city. One particular young man, David, came to meet her at a demonstration and a friendship of sorts began to develop. Megan said: “There was no confusion on our positions, but the line between friend and foe was becoming blurred. We started to see each other as human beings and it changed the way we spoke to one another.”


Eventually, Megan’s heart began to soften as she continued dialogue with those who had opposing views. These strangers asked questions, listened to learn, and shared their perspectives. They also took time to understand her side and point out contradictions in her theology. Finally, Megan left her family and the Westboro Church. Today she is still on a journey of exploration and reconciliation.

Question of the day: Who has loved you patiently?
Focal scriptures: Matthew 5:43-48; 1 Samuel 24; Luke 10:25-37

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

comments powered by Disqus