I’m a fireworks junkie, if that’s a phrase that I can use safely. Basically, I really enjoy fireworks. It doesn’t matter when or where; if fireworks are being shot off, I want to watch. This is why I love Independence Day, besides the obvious reason (that whole “freedom” thing is pretty cool). Not only can I watch fireworks from the parking lot of Kroger, but I can also stand out in my driveway and watch my neighbors set off fireworks for basically the entire month of July. It gets old when it’s midnight and I’m trying to sleep, but from 9pm to 11pm, I’m all about it.
I love Independence Day. I also love the U.S.A. Seriously. I’m not talking about loving a political party or having an affinity for hamburgers and cook-outs. I really do enjoy living in the United States, and being with people who share this enjoyment with me.
This is why I have a problem with some Jesus followers hating on America. Constantly. Without doing anything about it.
You know who I am talking about, because 3 or 4 people just popped into your head. Let’s be honest, it’s a drag to be around them. They’re the “Debbie Downers” of fun holidays like Independence Day. They’re constantly saying things like:
“I just don’t know what’s wrong with America.”
“Our country is headed in a downward spiral.”
“The country is getting worse and worse everyday!”
They say this because they see things happening in the country that they disagree with. With each new piece of legislation being passed (or vetoed), and with each new politician elected, they lose all hope for the country. To carry it even further, they usually seem like they’re losing hope for the world.
But…isn’t the church the hope of the world?
What happens when the hope of the world loses hope for the world?
There’s a huge problem in this line of “hopeless America” thinking. If anyone had a right to complain about their country and society and throw up their hands to pronounce condemnation upon it, it was Jesus. But he didn’t. He actually loved the country, and encouraged his followers to do the same.
Why? Because the country (and the world) is made up of people. And Jesus loves people.
This is the point where the “hopeless America” Jesus followers start to point out the judgment Jesus dished out in the gospels. I hate to break it to you, but Jesus reserved the harsh judgment for the religious. Remember the white washed tombs that Jesus referred to (in Matthew 23)? He wasn’t addressing the nation. He was talking to religious people.
Let’s not be “religious people” when it comes to our country and the people that live in it. Jesus loved them, and so do we.
Sure, there’s reason to pray hard for America. Believe me, I do not agree with everything that happens. But I don’t have to. Why?
God is still God, no matter what. And Jesus loved people, so as a follower of Jesus, I do too.
As a Jesus follower, you are part of the church. The church is the hope of the world, for the church is the hands and feet of Jesus. Don’t give up hope.
After all, Jesus didn’t give up hope.