I love America.
I’ve seen the Grand Canyon at sunrise, I’ve been in the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, and I climbed the Grand Tetons.
I stood at the feet of the World Trade Center before 9/11, I hugged a Giant Sequoia, I’ve toured Washington D.C.,and I love the movie ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’.
I’ll be darned if West Michigan isn’t one of the most perfect places to grow up!
I am very blessed to have enjoyed all these things.
And so I love my home, this ‘grand experiment’ where I grew up in safety, without fear of hunger or thirst or freezing or being killed.
This love I’m describing, it’s called patriotism. It is natural and healthy for a community of people to feel it.
I am patriotic!
That does NOT mean I am nationalistic.
I don’t believe America is the ‘best nation’ in the world, as if such a thing could ever exist.
We (humanity) are all trying to make do with the best we’ve got: America gets somethings right and other nations get other things right.
Nations come and go, some last a long time and other die out quick. America won’t be around forever and THAT’S OKAY!
It’s okay because America isn’t the end all/be all of history.
In the Great Commission Jesus commands every Christian to make disciples of all the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). This command forces Christians to look beyond their patriotic, or even nationalistic, tendencies for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus calls Christians to love the Gospel more than their home-nation.
Jesus > America
I love Jesus more than I love America.
That changes the game.
I still celebrate my earthly home, but as a foreigner living in foreign country (Eph. 2:19; Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:17). I have higher goals now, an eternal perspective.
The Gospel oriented life trumps the American life in many areas.
Materialism, consumerism, instant gratification, bigger cars/bigger homes/bigger computers/bigger burgers… such things are American to the core and not of Christ or the Gospel.
And perhaps most of all, the call to make disciples of all the nations trumps the drums of war beaten by the nations of the world.
I will not kill the enemies of America because the enemies of America had their sins paid for on the cross (Romans 5:8).
And the one who paid those sins, the one I call Master, Savior, and Lord, he told me to bring them the gospel of grace and mercy, of reconciliation and healing, of salvation.
That is something America can never offer.