Last year, I wrote a post called “Red, White, and Blue… and Jesus, too.” I love living in the United States of America, but, to be honest, I get tired of some of the spiritual language that is attached to this country. This is not “God’s country.” We are not the new Israel. I think this kind of uber-patriotism is damaging to the body of Christ. The political freedoms that we have as citizens of the USA are secondary (at least) to the freedoms that we have in Christ.
Yeah, I know… everybody and their sister (in the USA) is writing a post about Independence Day. Not the movie… the patriotic holiday. The day that the USA celebrates it’s rebellion from… I mean, independence from England.
No, I’m not anti-American. Not at all. I’m very grateful to God that I was born in the country in which I have many personal freedoms. But, I’m also tired of the church in the USA confusing patriotism with following Jesus.
I haven’t traveled out of the USA much. But, I’ve traveled (and read) enough to know that God blesses many people in many different countries. Yes, sometimes the people in those countries have less personal freedoms, but, for the church, that’s not always a bad thing.
I’ve talked to too many Christians in the USA who were more concerned with the individual rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by God in the Bible, right?), and much less concerned with giving up their rights (much less their life) for the sake of others. To be completely honest… I have been numbered among those as well.
But, spending time with believers in Nicaragua and Ethiopia has opened my eyes to a new set of rights that God truly bestows on all his children. No, I’m not talking about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m talking about death, service, and pursuit of others to show them the love of God.
Yes, many people died to guarantee certain political, social, cultural, and even religious freedoms. Like I said, I’m grateful for those freedoms, and I pray that I take advantage of them in the service of my God.
However, those freedoms cannot (and must not) stand between me and showing the love of God to others through word and through deed. And I mean that the existence OR lack of those freedoms must never stand between me and showing the love of God to others through word and through deed.
Citizens of the United States of America definitely have more individual freedom than citizens of other countries of the world. However, these freedoms are not based on our relationship with God. Those freedoms are granted to Christian citizens and to nonChristian citizens. Yes, Christians died defending those freedoms, but so did nonChristians.
So, while I am truly grateful for the freedoms that I have as a citizen of the United States of America, I refuse to recognize myself and other citizens as honored higher by God simply because of our citizenship.
Similarly, I refuse to speak or to write about God’s view of America and Americans in a way that I could not also speak of Nicaragua, Ethiopia, China, Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other country in the world.
The United States of America is not God’s country. Citizens of the United States who have received the good news of Jesus Christ and have been indwelled by the Spirit of God are God’s people. But, citizens of other countries who have received the good news of Jesus Christ and have been indwelled by the Spirit of God are God’s people also.