Thursday, October 9, 2014

Not ashamed to be called "American"

I am tired of America being blamed for a host of ills around the world.  I'm sick of hearing people complain that America is an awful place to live because we fear illness that is capable of killing us.  I'm weary from hearing how this "land of opportunity" isn't doing, giving, and assisting those who are capable of helping themselves.

Can we, for once, just place the insult where it REALLY belongs?  At the foot of the ruler of this evil world, Satan?

Sure, we are each full of sin and hatred and worry and (insert word here).  That hasn't changed for a couple of millenia.  I don't expect that will change until Jesus wipes this planet clean and starts afresh.

But, we are a good (not perfect) nation. 

What other country has the reputation for being able and willing to help in all-sort of situations?
What other country has people jumping over barriers trying to get in?
What other country has freedom of speech and religion?
What other country has boy-men still selflessly signing up to fight for the liberties we all enjoy?
What other country has a system of government that allows us to vote out those who aren't effective?

There is a reason people from other countries still look to America to help them bear their burdens.  We've, historically, been reliable in supporting others during famine and war and injustice.  We are first-responders after hurricanes and tsunamis and other devastating natural occurrences.  The amount of food and clothing and medical supplies that flows out of our country to others is unrivaled.  We volunteer our time, money, talents, and energy to fly to other parts of the world and use our vacation days to make the lives of the less fortunate more fortunate.

Sure, we have our problems.  Our government is often gridlocked.  There are greed-mongers present at every station of life, from the poorest to the richest.  Our media is polarized and ineffective at reporting the facts without adding spin.

But, hard-working, honest, helpful people are around us every day. 

Will we choose to ignore them?  Would we rather focus on the lazy, dishonest, slandering folks who seem to fill our heads with how "evil" America is?

Not I, thank you very much.

I am going to go about the business of cleaning out my insides first so my heart is in the right place.  I am going to be THANKFUL I live in a country which affords me the ability to help others who are less fortunate.

I am not going to look God in the proverbial eye, spit in His face, and say "You put me here?  Are you kidding?  What kind of blessing is this, living here?"  What an insult I would be to my Maker to assume He doesn't know exactly where I am supposed to be.

A grateful heart, full of love for a country that does its best (and, like all things on Earth, often fails), is what we should all be striving toward.

Let's thank God, instead of slamming our country.
Let's remember who is ultimately in control.
Let's not look at others' suffering and assume we should feel bad about ourselves because we are afraid that suffering might land on our doorstep.

Let's be honest.  We are fallen.  We hurt.  We worry.  We fear.


Let's step up and forgive.  Let's step out and admit our faults.  Let's move forward, past the anger and concern.

Let's bless others.
With no expectation of return.

Let's bless America, so she can continue to bless others, too.

And, mostly, let's hit our knees and thank God for allowing us the privilege of His wisdom, guidance, and strength, if only we will ask.  Thank Him for sending His son to die in our place.  Thank Him for making us a voice for the voiceless.

We are only here for a short time.  Let's use that gift to be thankful for our lives.  Let's bless this land, instead of cursing it, so we leave it to the next generation as a place they feel honored to live, not ashamed to call home.