Monday, July 04, 2011
How to be a Patriotic Christian
Today Americans celebrate the 235th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America. It's a time for citizens to express our patriotism, our love for our country and its people.
Recognizing that many of my blog's readers live in different nations around the globe (some of which are hostile to the Christian faith), I have been thinking about how the Bible gives us some guidance in expressing our love for our countries and their people.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Pray. "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4). If we have a fair, decent, competent, and honest government, we are more likely to be able to live peaceful and quiet lives. We will be able to spread the good news of Christ with fewer obstacles in our way. Perhaps more people, even leaders within our governments, will be able to hear God's message more clearly. Perhaps they will respond favorably and join with us in following Jesus.
2. Submit. "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities..." (Titus 3:1). "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God...for he is God's servant for your good" (Romans 13:1, 4). Generally, when we follow the rules, we help our societies to function better. Anarchy and rebellious attitudes can bring societies to ruin. Our neighbors could suffer harm when we are rebellious against authority.
3. Go Beyond the Legal Requirements in Order to Do Good to Others. "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people" (Titus 3:1-2). A person can treat people horribly and not violate a single law in my country. The law tends to set minimal standards of behavior in a society. A Christian can stand out in a community by going beyond the requirements of the law, by being "ready for every good work," by refusing to slander others (especially the government's leaders), by avoiding quarrels (especially concerning relatively unimportant political preferences), and by being gentle and courteous toward everyone.
Whether a Christian lives in the USA, Russia, China, Nigeria, Iran, Brazil, or anywhere else on the planet, he can love his country and its people by adhering to these principles.