I love our country.
I love the uniqueness of its cities and the their cultural variances. I love that countless languages are spoken and just as many varieties of delicious foods are prepared within our borders. I love the passion for social development and scientific discoveries. I also have enjoyed visiting other nations and experiencing snapshots of their communities and cultures as well.
As Christians, we’re called to love our cities and countries that we live in. Regardless of our potential differences in faith, morality, philosophy and politics, we like the exiled Israelites are to “…seek the welfare of the city…” (Jeremiah 29:7, ESV) or “…work for the peace and prosperity of the city…” (NLT). From Adam and Abraham to Jesus and Paul, we see throughout scripture God calling and leading His people to cultivate, develop, and bless the communities and nations that they live in as well as those abroad.
While patriotism is noble and can be motivated by godly intentions, there are however ways in which Christians can elevate their earthly citizenship above their citizenship in God’s eternal kingdom. Here are ten ways Christians can be too patriotic:
- Your country is more important to you than your local church; you’re committed more to the progression and power of your nation than the development and ministry of your local church.
- Your freedom in your nation is more significant to you than the freedom you now have in Jesus because of His life, death, and resurrection.
- You define yourself as an American (or *insert nationality*) before you define yourself as a Christian; who you are is defined by the blood your nation’s soldiers shed rather than the blood that Jesus shed on our behalf.
- Your temporary earthly rights and pleasures are more important to you than the wellbeing of your neighbor and God’s creation.
- You see your nation as God’s holy, chosen people and other nations as enemies of God deserving of punishment.
- The views of the political party you most associate with conflict with your call to love your neighbor as yourself.
- You fail to acknowledge and confess our sins as a generation as well as those before us for the sake of gospel change today and for the generations to come.
- You think that God’s end goal is to make your nation a perfect place rather than establish and advance His kingdom here in all the earth as it is in Heaven.
- You think that your nation has always been a Christian nation regardless of its deep roots in slavery, genocide, inequality, racism, classism, sexism, corruption, environmental damage, and the abusive dominance of other lesser powers for the sake of personal gain to name a few.
- Your hope for change and transformation in this world is rooted more likely in the laws and legislation of your land rather than in God’s chosen people who have the Spirit of God actively working in and through them.
For content similar to this topic as well as suggestions for change and growth in these areas, check out Gregory A. Boyd’s “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “Paul’s Letter to the American Christians.”