by Laura Forehand
The 4th of July. America’s birthday. All my life I have been taught to respect this country in which I live. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that… necessarily.
Yesterday, as I was perusing through my Facebook feed, I happened upon the above saying. My heart immediately sank. It sank for a couple of reasons. First, it sank because, while this may be your personal preference, it rewrites Joshua 24:15. It’s the whole “taking it out of context” thing that doesn’t sit well with me. When we do this… when we rewrite, reword scripture and make it a nationalistic statement, for me, this becomes scary and can cause so much confusion. In a way, it can continue to perpetuate the “Us” vs. “Them” mentality. It could send the message that God is only for America, for the American flag, and our National Anthem. Technically, I guess that would be right; however, He is also for every other country He created. We’ve heard it in Sunday school… we’ve heard it in church… God is love. Here is something that might be new to many of us (including me over the last year)… He does not just love America. He loves Palestine and Iran and Iraq and China and Taiwan and…. Well, everyone. There is no one he doesn’t love. There isn’t anyone He doesn’t want to come to know Him. We do not have to salute your American flag or stand for our National Anthem or anything like that for God to love you. He sent His son for that purpose. It’s a done deal if we already know Jesus.
Secondly, I knew if I posted a comment in any way contradicting this statement, there would be backlash. I’m not referring to backlash like “Well, Laura, let’s just agree to disagree.” This is Facebook, people!! Backlash like that only happens in fairy tales! No, instead my very character would have been assassinated, probably by people I don’t even know. I would have been labeled anti-American and who knows what else! The truth is I do not hate America. At. All. I am grateful for the country in which I live (although I totally love Taiwan and I am so looking forward to going to Australia!). It needs work. We are still dealing with a lot of junk that honestly needs to go. But, God doesn’t love America best of all. That would be like me saying I love one of my children more than the other or God loves white people more than black people… now I’ve gone and done it!! That’s just crazy-talk, right? You can put in your own children, spouse, or situation. It would still be a ridiculous statement about God, right? So, why do we presume God loves America more than a Muslim country? Truth is, He doesn’t. He doesn’t play games…. like we do.
I definitely do not believe that the person who posted this for one second meant to offend or sadden or anything. Instead, I am sure that they felt very patriotic. We should have pride in and for our country. We should be so grateful for the liberties we have. We should be thankful for the strides we have made. But, we still have work to do. We do. I think one thing that could hold us back is assuming we are the only nation under God out there. It’s hard to wrap our minds around… I get that. My way of thinking is changing. I use to think America was IT, baby!! However, I can’t truly know God fully if I am limiting His love like that. It’s not just for me. Or just for us. It’s also for “them”, too.
God bless America. And everyone else.