Today is a day that we celebrate our country, it’s the day we became an independent nation and freedom is something to celebrate! Days like today it’s not uncommon to hear “God Bless America” or to see it printed on signs, T-shirts, or bumper stickers. In recent years and in some circles this phrase is almost profane and insulting. I’m wondering if it would sound different if we added two letters… “God Bless AmericaNS”. I get that we want to honor the land and the boundaries of which we all live within, but why are we elevating the territory of the soil under our feet more than our neighbors who live upon it with us. If I say God Bless Americans, it’s a simple request of the most Holy God to bless the people of our nation, all of them, period end of story – not just the Christians and not just my friends.
Paul gave this exact instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:
1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
In a time where our country seems more divided than united, maybe it’s time we unfold our arms of frustration and open them up to our neighbors. Pray earnestly for our leaders, no matter if we agree or disagree. Our vote or our respectful display of disagreement should not prohibit our prayers.
There’s one problem with this, living in a land of abundance I’ve become accustomed to comfort, from easy access to food to an air-conditioned home. This has created a comfort problem in my heart (to be honest, this isn’t the only problem). I like to be comfortable and this translates into behaviors like spending time with easy people – people who agree with me or maybe people who I decide to be with. The angry neighbor down the way is hard to love so maybe I avoid them when I get the mail. But maybe they see me as an off-putting snotty Christian? The past few years have left me questioning how I treat believers vs. non-believers? In some ways there should be no difference, obviously love them first. To the non-believers I think our instructions are actually easier, love them and let it go. There’s a tshirt out there you can buy ‘Just Love Everyone, I’ll Sort Them Out Later.’ ~ God. Approaching anyone with a heart of judgement and condemnation is sure to create enemies and strife. Harder still is the proposition with believing friends, before providing constructive feedback first pray and second ask permission – because unrequested feedback is always heard as criticism! Living a peaceful and quiet life isn’t arguing on social media with those who disagree and that probably isn’t dignified either. There have been plenty of times in the 226 years of these beloved United States that God Fearing Christians have taken scripture out of context and abused people made in God’s image, so while I pray for all American’s I’ll also pray that Christian American’s don’t use the word of God to bind and abuse others. In the sweet words of Tiny Tim from Dickens A Christmas Carol: “God Bless us everyone”.