I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a lot of rhetoric lately that seems to regard The United States as a perfect entity, elevating her to a position that no one should be placed except for God. Nothing on this earth is perfect, but a lot of people seem to be defending the U.S. like it’s the most perfect union rather than the idea of a more perfect union that she was founded on.
America screams of freedom and liberty. Her actions may not always match her words, but she’s laid the foundation for something that can be great. Others see that potential and come running to her. The land of opportunity, sacrifice and second chances. She is the lady standing tall with an eternal fire.
However, America is not without fault. She has blood on her hands. She has a history with supremacy and oppression. She treats her women differently than her men. She doesn’t apologize for much. She’s a fighter not a lover. She gets caught up in messy politics and arguments. She creates cycles and systems that make justice nearly impossible.
I pray that God blesses her to be all that she can be, but in the meantime, I won’t make her the god that she’s not. She’s beautifully imperfect and a work in progress so I’ll treat her accordingly.
As American journalist and author, Sydney J. Harris, famously stated,
“the difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility while the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to a war.”
That calls into question our allegiance. If you are a Christian with a nationalist mindset, your allegiance probably goes solely to your country and you find a way to morph your faith to explain the wrongs that your country has committed. But if you are a Christian with a patriot mindset, then you are most likely proud of your country, but your convictions will not allow you to stand by and ignore the wrongs of the country. In other words, for the nationalist, his country comes before his faith and for the patriot his faith will probably come before his country.
And the patriot has the right mindset because our faith is eternal and everything else is temporal, which means that our belief in God transcends borders.
Oftentimes, I feel that Christians living in America forget that Jesus did not die for just Americans. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the WORLD that He gave his only begotten son…” He created, died for and still loves the whole world and the diverse set of people in it. How dare American Evangelicals be so selfish and closed-minded? That’s why it’s so important to gain perspective and not deceive ourselves that America’s way is the right and only way. America’s way does not necessarily equal God’s way. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, then you believe that “Jesus is THE WAY, the truth and the life“and if you put anything in the place of Jesus, then that’s considered to be an idol.
So wait, if God cares for more than just America, could that mean that the wars, policies and politicians that a majority of American Evangelicals fight for might not be in alignment with God’s will? Quite possibly. We have to remember that Americans are not the center of the universe and although God loves each of American deeply, He also deeply loves those from the remaining 194 countries of the world.
So be mindful and careful, especially in high-tension political seasons, to check your allegiance. If your allegiance to America is greater than your allegiance to God, then it’s very likely that you have made America a god in your life. Do not limit God to a country, a political party, or a politician, He’s so much more than that and it is high time we tear down the idols that prevent us from seeing Him for all that He is.