Then last year, we did a series of sermons on snark. Gossip. Ugliness. The power of words. And I was convicted (to use the old word) to say from the pulpit that I wouldn't use ol' Fred Phelps again. That I was not practicing what I preached, nor was I practicing what Jesus preached.
Now I hear of his passing. The punchlines are going through my mind as fast as I can process them. And yet. And yet.
He will receive the same grace I do. He will have to answer for his life the same as I will ( however that answering looks).
Many years ago, there was an artist's rendering of the night of Jesus' betrayal. It is set at night in the courtyard, just after Peter has denied knowing Jesus. On one side of the picture is Jesus being led away in chains; on the other side is Peter. They have caught sight of one another.
The question is, of course, what does Peter see in the eyes of Jesus?
Some would say that when you answer that, you have established your relationship with Jesus, because the thought is that you think Jesus looks at Peter the way Jesus would look at you.
And. So. Of course, there is only one way Jesus looks at anyone. Though it may be laced with other things - disappointment, confusion, hurt, anger, frustration - the only way Jesus look at anyone is with love.
So. Even the post title is ugly, isn't it?
Lord, have mercy on me - a sinner.