When we were little children, we viewed our parents through an almost entirely positive lens. They could do nothing wrong in our eyes. Then we became adolescents, and we viewed our parents through an almost entirely negative lens. They could do virtually nothing right in our teenage eyes. And periodically in adolescence, teenagers will slip in and out of a childlike orientation toward their parents as they grow. However, if we had loving parents, we matured to later realize as adults that our parents are basically good and decent people despite their various imperfections.
In a similar way, our United States of America has been in its adolescent phase of development arguably since the late 1960’s. With periodically slipping in and out of times of childlike nationalistic fervor, our nation for the past five and a half decades has been marked by a great deal of adolescent-like angst about our national history and heritage. So, while some view our USA as virtually doing no wrong in the world, there are many who view our USA through an almost entirely negative adolescent lens.
Of course, the truth is that there is no such thing as a perfect nation. All the nations have negative aspects to their histories and their present realities. Yes, our USA is not perfect, but our history and heritage are not a terrible travesty either. The USA has been by far, and continues to be by far, a great blessing to our world. So, it is indeed right that we should have a healthy sense of patriotism for everything that is good and laudable about our national founding and history and heritage. While acknowledging the bad and learning from it, we uplift and give thanks for the good above all else, and it is the many good aspects of our nation that our national symbols point toward and represent (especially the US Flag).
Nevertheless, as we are on the brink of our 2016 Presidential election, I have to say that we are faced with the most uninspiring election I can remember. Neither of the two major party nominees represent a virtuous choice, and I believe it will be very hard to find anyone who is actually proud of their vote for either of these two. In fact, I don’t think hardly anyone is really voting “for” either of them. Rather, I think that a majority of people are primarily voting against the one they dislike the most.
So maybe it is helpful to remember that while we Christians are “in” this world, we are not “of” this world (see John 17). After all, our first citizenship is the Kingdom of God in Christ:
PHILIPPIANS 3: 18-20
“For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
And we also ought to recall the following biblical admonition:
PSALM 146: 3-5
“Do not put your trust in rulers, in mortals, in whom there is no salvation. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose salvation is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God…”
The font of life and salvation is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore, whoever our next President is — whether it be President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton — let us always remember our first citizenship in heaven and our true salvation in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, raise up elected leaders with honest and humble hearts, so that integrity and righteousness will shine forth in their work. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Together in Christ,