I love America. I mean, I really love America. In 2004, while my husband was deployed with the NAVY, I competed in a pageant (another post for another day) where the ladies wore wearing red, white, and blue for the opening number. We paraded on stage and sang patriotic songs. One of the husbands of a fellow contestant that I had befriended commented to me that no one sang their heart out as much as I did. Oh, I sang. With tears in my eyes I sang. After all, my husband was out on a ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean defending America. The lyrics touched me deeply, and it was obvious. So, yeah, I love America. But there is something – someone – I love more. Jesus.
I know many people would say the same thing. “Of course I love Jesus more than America! How dare you suggest otherwise!” But, truthfully, the older I get the more I start to see how people often put their love of country over their love of Savior. Social media alone speaks to that, with the overwhelming emphasis on politics. It’s alarming how many are willing to alienate people just to get their point across – berating those who have a different view, calling government officials or those who support them mentally ill, deciding that they are right on every issue and everyone else is wrong (I mean, really, who is right on everything?). It’s as if no thought is given to the lost people that may be reading their words, growing more confused by the day about what it means to be a Christian. In particular when the pulpit is used to preach anything other than the Word of God.
Make no mistake – I enjoy following politics. I am politically active. I encourage people to vote, and, when compelled, I share my views on the issues and candidates. It’s important that we stay engaged in the political process; however, it can become a problem when that’s all one cares about. But, it’s not just politics and it’s not just social media that reflect a position of placing America above Jesus.
- It’s focusing on power and prestige rather than on souls and salvations.
- It’s being motivated by money rather than what is going to impact the Kingdom.
- It’s acting selfishly rather than selflessly – entitlement and envy are two culprits.
Of course, this isn’t just a problem in America, but the American dream does often overshadow the Great Commission. We become so focused on ourselves and our desires that we lose sight of what should be the most important part of our lives. America is a (mostly) beautiful land of (mostly) freedom, but it’s not perfect. There is certainly work to do to improve the country we love so much. But our most important work, our highest calling, is to love the Lord with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength and to love others as ourselves. We can love both America and Jesus. I do. But to place America –or anything– even a hair over Jesus is to break the first commandment: You shall have no other gods before me. We have a choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.