This past week we celebrated your 241st birthday! I hope it was a good one for you, but it got me thinking. I’ve known you my entire life, and you’ve always been my home. Unfortunately, lately, I feel something has come between us; there’ve been some misunderstandings, and I would like to clear the air.
Please know that I love you, America. There’s so much I admire about you. Your liberty, your energy, your creativity, your entrepreneurial spirit. You opened your door to millions of immigrants from around the world – the poor and oppressed looking for a safe haven and a new opportunity. You led the world for most of a century in science and technology – cranking out progress on an assembly line! You’ve been a home for great thinkers who have done much to advance society. You’ve given us talented artists, athletes, singers, and writers who have shaped our culture. Yes, America, I love you…but not like that kind of love.
You see, my heart belongs to another. I’m a Christ-follower and I confess that Jesus is Lord. The Savior of the world is the crucified and risen Son of God, not “We the People.” The gospel is the story of Jesus, not the American story. That’s what I mean when I say “I love you, but not like that.” Not in the way of supreme allegiance and unquestioned devotion. If I loved you like that I would betray my baptism. I am betrothed by faith and baptism to Christ alone. So I can’t allow you to rival my allegiance to Jesus. I can’t put you first. I have vowed to “seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness” (Matt. 6:33), and you’ll just have to understand that.
America, as one of your citizens, I want you to know that I do respect you. I’ll gladly pay my share to help provide for education, infrastructure, emergency services, and everything else it takes to live in a civilized society. I’ll do my part to educate my children of your past so that they will understand the freedoms they enjoy in the present. So, America, I do love you…but not like I love my Lord and my God. I cannot love you like that. I cannot pledge unconditional allegiance to you. I cannot rank civil freedom of religion above spiritual freedom in Christ. But I can promise to be a good citizen by attempting to “love my neighbor as myself” (Matt. 22:39).
My prayer for you, America, is that you be humble. I’m not asking you to be great. It’s enough to be a good, moral citizen among the community of nations. You don’t have to be obsessed with being “number one” – there is only One God. You don’t have to try to be “King of the World” – Jesus already is! I pray that God bless you, America, as He has blessed me in Christ Jesus.