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We Want the Wrong Country  

Do you long for the America that used to be? I remember the day when no one questioned a prayer at graduation. Or considered a mention of hell as hate speech.

Not that America was ever totally Christian, but one could argue there was a day when this nation had more of a collective conscience concerning the Almighty.

Statistics show many more of us used to attend church. Or read the Bible. Or pray.

And most folks, born again or not, affirmed some notion of a coming judgment day.

Back before America welcomed Buddha, Allah, Krishna, Zen, and the force, we mostly had God. And He was enough.

Our ship has sailed far from that holy harbor, to the point that many of us long exceedingly for the old country. And that can be a problem. While we are called to be salt and light, to affirm what is good, and to stand against evil, we must not forget that our real citizenship is in heaven.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to live in a nation that demonstrates a healthy respect for God. And engaging in the task of forging godly national values is noble. But when we care more about the country we’re leaving than our heavenly country, our hearts are in the wrong place.

I’m guilty here, for sure. I dislike the growing disrespect for anything remotely Christian. I bristle at the welcome accommodation of other faiths (or no faith) while believers face marginalization. It ticks me off when even a polite explanation of biblical beliefs leads to the charge of our being hateful or even domestic terrorists.

Yet how can we read the Bible or history itself and not realize this is how it has always been? We are hated by the most hateful of enemies.

In the famous "Faith Hall of Fame" in Hebrews 11, it says of the great saints, "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth…And indeed, if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.”

For now, we Christians have dual citizenship of sorts. But we cannot expect the smile of our Savior if we've set our affections on this country—rather than His.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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