I bet you’re making an odd face at this very second. I know I did when I saw Patriotism listed as one of the “8 Sins Christians are Starting to Ignore” by Rachel-Claire Cockrell. Take a breath. This is not an anti-American blog by any means. Cockrell makes it very clear that patriotism in and of itself is not sinful–a point I whole-heartedly agree with. I confess I was as curious as my cat, Felix, when I clicked the “Next” button to see what she had to say about this. Though her explanation was only a few sentences long…it made perfect sense and was definitely biblical.
In short, Cockrell says Americans have a tendency to put faith and Christian values in the same box as political party and patriotism. Makes you think…does it not? Obviously this massive subject could go in a million different directions in terms of discussion and analysis. That is not the goal here, however. It’s enough to stay in the realm of truth as it lies on the surface. Many Americans love being Americans. Service in our nation’s military is commendable and worthy of the deepest respect. But we must remember God does not have an American flag hanging in heaven nor does He approach His reign with an “American” mindset. He does not give Americans a free pass just because we are blessed to live here. We must also resist the temptation to think a certain political party is “Christian” and the other(s) are not.
Jonathan Leeman wrote in his book, “Reverberation,” that “there ought to be something distinctly Christian in all Christian churches.” I find this quote especially helpful in light of this discussion. Our calendars are filled with patriotic emphases that rightly stir our pride and emotions (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, etc). But those special days are not “Christian” in and of themselves. To be Christian is to be born again, cleansed from sin, and walking in faith and trust in the dear Son of God. Our geography and mailing address has nothing to do with it.
I want to close with a couple of thoughts that might bring a helpful perspective to all of us as we think about such things. First, let us constantly remind ourselves what makes us Christian. We have responded to the call of God having heard the Good News of what Jesus Christ has done to reach us. This week is filled with constant reminders of what Jesus came into the world to accomplish. Good Friday is looming…which means the cross was looming years ago as Jesus would graciously fulfill what He came to do. Today is Wednesday of the week of Passion. The Scriptures are somewhat quiet about this particular day. One thing most commentators agree on is that Wednesday was the day the Sanhedrin put the full plan into effect to have Jesus killed. The very next evening, historically, Jesus would be arrested in the garden and hours of torment, ridicule, physical exhaustion, and torture that would last throughout the night…into Friday morning when He was nailed to a cross around 9am. For 6 hours He suffered and would die around 3pm. He faced such agony as our sin was placed on Him and then punished as He took our place. Our faith and belief in His atoning work at Calvary is essential to our salvation. His death, burial, and resurrection are taught clearly in the Scriptures. Our belief in these things and the miracle of God’s saving work through faith brings joy to the Christian heart.
Second, and in conclusion, this thought reminds us to look at the world the way God does. Countless references to “the nations” and “the world” are found throughout the Bible. Our God is not “American” and His love and redemptive work in salvation is not laced in red, white, and blue…but in the blood of His Son and the need for people of every nation and tongue to believe. It is certainly within the realm of reason to be proud and thankful for our heritage as a nation. But we must remember the Christian faith is about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the place sinners for the glory of God and it supersedes all borders and languages. May we be burdened for our wayward nation as we strive to represent our Lord here at home…and around the world.
Blessings to all. Thanks again Monticello. 🙂