Have you noticed that America-hating is trendy? Not with enemy nations, but right here. In America.
What is up with making it cool to blatantly dislike our own country, to stand on the sidelines as a critic when you are benefiting as a citizen?
Some criticism is warranted, and our founding mothers and fathers wouldn’t want it any other way. As participating and alert citizens, we are required to pay attention and resist willful blindness by calling out destructive patterns and trajectories of the nation. And then we are called to act, to vote, to contact our representatives and demand change.
But to criticize and demean your national leadership without being part of the solution is pointless. Rants on social media about the ineptitudes of our Congress may be perfectly accurate, but have no value or impact.
Just as in the American church, our government has many consumers. People who show up every day with an entitlement complex, asking what their church or city or country can do for them. “What’s in it for me?” is their rallying cry.
Yet not every US citizen behaves this way. Every day men and women who believe in the destiny and great history of our nation – although we are hardly faultless – defy the distorted “American dream” for comfort and risk their lives for a small deployment pay increase called “hazard pay”. Every day their families wonder if this will be the last time they talk to their loved one.
And when we make thoughtless and calloused remarks about the state of things, about how our elected leadership is a disappointment, this reflects far more on us as individuals and as a body of citizens than it ever does on the people steering the ship. It says that we’d rather be armchair politicians, shouting opinions into the ether in front of our TV screens, rather than praying and voting and making a real impact. It says we traded the old, blissful high-ho version of patriotism for a sluggish slacktivism rife with hopelessness and laziness.
With our growing global awareness, it almost feels foolish and ignorant to retain a sense of patriotism when we know our presence in other countries is less than helpful. It seems like World War II propaganda to talk about America, the Greatest Nation.
Yet I would suggest that God is not against patriotism. He just wants to redefine it. He decides our culture, nationality, gender and personality before we are born. Each of these factors play a role in our destiny. And loving our home cities and nations is an essential part of living in our calling.
You will not see a family, a city or a country transform unless you love them first.
Those of us who are born into more opportunities and resources can no longer think of it as winning God’s lottery. God raises up individuals and nations to have an impact in the earth “for such a time as this”. We are American citizens for a reason. We are called as Ambassadors of Christ to bring healing, revival and restoration to our nation, and then through our nation, to the rest of the world.
Our nation is not the hope of the world. Jesus is. But every Christian citizen who belongs to a nation on earth has been strategically placed by God to see all things made new in their city, state and country.
But this transformation does not happen with angry outbursts and folded arms. True and lasting change only comes from a place of love, loving our nation, our leaders and all those who serve our country by vigilantly praying for them, encouraging them and looking for opportunities to improve the state of the union, any way we can.
Happy Veterans Day. I am thankful for the men and women I serve with on a daily basis who know sacrifice in ways I never will. I am thankful you possess the courage to live as you do. Military service members and families, you inspire me to live beyond my comfort for a cause greater than myself.