Today, in America, you cannot travel too far from your home without stumbling upon a fireworks stand. We love to watch the sky light up on the Fourth of July as we commemorate our independence. Some say that this country has changed so much that they do not find the same satisfaction in flying Old Glory and celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence as they did in the “good ol’ days.” Others would say this country has grown and they believe we should celebrate her now more than ever!
No one can deny that the America of today is vastly different than the America of even fifty years ago. In some ways, such a statement is excellent and in others, we should long for some of the simplicity, moral values, and ideals we associate with past generations. So, should we cease to celebrate a country which is changing in negative ways? Or, should we continue to celebrate because of our ancestors, the ideals on which America was built, and the thousands of our countrymen who sacrificed everything so we could be free?
What is Patriotism?
Dictionary.com defines patriotism as devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.
Wikipedia defines patriotism as the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment. This attachment can be a combination of many different feelings relating to one’s own homeland, including ethnic, cultural, political or historical aspects.
Some concerns we hear from Christ-followers are:
- Should we be devoted to our earthly country when our citizenship is in Heaven?
- Should we support and love a place which is actively trying to tear down the faith on which it was founded?
- Can we be devoted to Christ and to a country at the same time?
These are excellent questions to ponder and discuss with your significant other along with the questions below.
Have You and Your Partner Discussed Patriotism?
Regardless of where you are from, everyone has feelings about their country – positive or negative. Though your beliefs about patriotism may not surface in your relationship for years, it will probably come up at some point, especially at the rate in which the world is changing. It is a good idea to know where you each stand on this topic:
- Do I celebrate my country or citizenship?
- If so, how? / If not, why not?
- Is it important to me to find someone who shares my level of enthusiasm for patriotism?
- What specific lessons do I want to teach my children about love and devotion to country?
- Have my perspectives on patriotism changed throughout the years?
- If so, what precipitated that change?
- What did I believe when I was younger and what do I believe now?
- Do I find myself judging those who believe differently than me?
- What practical help do I give my country, or hope to give my country some day?
- How do my religious beliefs influence my feelings for and actions towards my country?
What Does the Bible Say?
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20-21, ESV)
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12, ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1, ESV)
And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:20-21, ESV)
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (I Peter 2:16-17, ESV)
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34, ESV)
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. (Titus 3:1-2, ESV)
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29, ESV)
What Do You Think?
Based on your prior teaching and experience, and after seeing a sample of what God’s Word says on the matter above, what do you believe about patriotism? Important? Unimportant? Essential? Is it something to avoid at all costs? When discussing the topic together, take the extra step of explaining your position in as much detail as possible so your partner can fully understand your stance.
Whether we are verbal or passionate about it, we all have feelings towards our country. Some have little interest in discussing it and others cannot go a day without voicing their love or hatred for their homeland. Some are thankful for their earthly home but focus most of their attention on their heavenly home waiting for them. Where do you stand?
The year is halfway through and we have covered a lot of topics. Due to length (you want your creed to be complete, but small enough to display in your home), your feelings and beliefs regarding your country may not make the cut; but, if a shared love for your country is a significant bond you share, add it to your couple’s creed. After all, your creed is uniquely about you, your beliefs, and how you wish to live as a result of your beliefs.
Happy Fourth of July
To our fellow Americans, we wish you the happiest Independence Day imaginable. We hope it is a time of rest, fellowship, and thankfulness. If you have family and friends who serve in the military, thank them for their service. If you know families who have lost loved ones through military service, consider finding a way to honor their sacrifice.
O thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and presev’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In GOD is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
– Francis Scott Key, Star Spangled Banner (verse four)
If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under. – Ronald Reagan
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry
Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it. – John Adams
Do you and your significant other share similar views on patriotism?