We know that we are called to love, our God, our neighbors, ourselves, and even our enemies, but I had never truly applied that love to “love of country.” Many of you are way ahead of me on this. We know that love requires self-sacrifice and that we acknowledge our failings, but not dwell there. We must see beyond the bad and look at the good and the potential in all and “feed” what is good. “What we feed, good or bad, is more inclined to grow.”
I’ve recently read two books that clarified my way of thinking about love of country. The 5,000 Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen and If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas; I recommend both. At the birth of our nation they understood they had something very special in a free country with a form of government never attempted before. Loving America was a given for them. But our wise founders knew that this freedom was not to be used frivolously, but for the betterment of all. This amazing way of life could only be sustained by “virtuous” people. If we failed, our government would fail.
I believe we still have something very special in America, we have been blessed beyond measure, but how much longer can we expect those blessings to continue? Our nation has become extremely divided; even a world-wide health crisis, that at one time may have brought us together, has caused further division. United we stand, divided we fall. Galatians 5:15 says, If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Metaxas says that part of being a virtuous people involves sacrifice. It requires us to own and deal with the bad in America, but simultaneously look past it to what is still good and true and noble in this country, its hope and its promise… and to feed it. He says we need American heroes that once again will inspire us to become better people and we need strong moral leaders to call us to higher ground. We need to be fed and we need to feed each other. Love is a powerful tool for individuals and for country. I pray we can find the ties that bind us together and go forward into 2021 with a new sense of love for our country, its people, and the whole world, which will be watching and waiting to see if we succeed.