Whew! It's been a busy weekend in the news. We've had a shooting at a church in Tennessee, Presidential tweets, NFL controversy, and continued devastation from hurricanes. There is every reason for God's people to be on their knees praying!
The question has been asked before, but it seems even more appropriate to ask now: how patriotic should Christians be? If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you should know that your citizenship ultimately belongs to the eternal Kingdom of God in Heaven. So, in one sense, our ultimate allegiance is to that Kingdom.
However, we are living in this world and must operate within it as good citizens. This means voting, speaking up about moral issues, and participating to the best of our ability. In some nations that means hiding out in underground churches. In other nations it means using our places in government offices and the workplace to influence culture.
For America right now there is an ongoing debate about whether one should have to stand for the national anthem (and especially public figures like professional athletes). While there are many components to this issue, it is important that Christians respond with a perspective that correlates directly to what we believe about our relationship to the state.
In the South especially, love of country runs very deep, and some have said churches have made love of God and love of country too intertwined. For the most part, I agree with that sentiment. Again, our ultimate goal is not to become better Americans. Our ultimate goal is to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
The verse about is Psalm 33:12, and the biggest problem for many people is they believe David was writing about America! At the moment, I believe our nation currently has many gods (entertainment, self, and many others), so we're not being blessed. We're in real trouble, and so the only prescription is for our nation to turn into a nation whose God is the Lord.
So, how patriotic should Christians be? We should seek to be great citizens of whatever country we live in to the glory of God. This means vote your conscience, pay your taxes, and seek to live at peace with all people to earn the privilege of sharing the Gospel. Let's just be careful not to let the grand old flag, the eagle, or the US of A become our gods.
Bible References: 1 Timothy 2:1-4, Romans 12:14-21