As tempting as that sounds, it’s unwise. Of course, Christians must remember that our ultimate citizenship is in Heaven, not with any country on Earth. Thus, we must avoid placing any nation-state on a pedestal and should acknowledge America’s unavoidable imperfections.
On the other hand, God chooses to place each individual in a particular place at a certain time in history. That means He intended for Americans to be Americans. And patriotism isn’t a sin. We can genuinely love and appreciate the beautiful aspects of America – past and present – and also admit its failures – past and present. We can hope, pray, and work for constructive change and also decry illogical, unnecessary destruction. It’s not a matter of either/or; it’s about both/and.
And for the sake of our kids, we must stay engaged and find that middle ground.
I have only a few vivid memories of growing up in the 1970s – but every one of them is tinged with angst. I recall President Nixon’s depressing resignation speech. I watched coverage of Americans evacuating the US Embassy in Vietnam. I heard about gas lines and 20% interest, packed up my belongings as my parents’ house was foreclosed upon, and fretted over Americans held hostage in Iran. My parents didn’t talk with me about any of it, so I absorbed the general malaise that hung over the nation. And I entered into young adulthood with a very unhealthy, skewed view of America.
The chaos of current events certainly rivals that of the ‘70s. And it has stressed our kids. Children and teens are resilient; they can come through trying times with hope for the future. But they need our example and guidance to do so.
It’s our job to listen as they express fears. It’s our job to answer their questions as best we can. It’s our job to show them a broader, historical perspective and to direct them toward seeing things from God’s point of view. It’s our job to pray with and for them, maybe now more than ever before.
When our current turmoil passes – and it will – you’ll want your kids to emerge clothed in optimism, hope, and peace. “So, let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6.9)
Photo Credit: Dome Poon
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