So Luther responsed when queried about his love for God. He was honest enough to admit that while God is altogether lovely, Luther was a sinner, and his response to God showed it. We can have a love/hate relationship with that which matters to us for one of two reasons, or a combination thereof. In Luther’s case God doesn’t change, but Luther does. Sometimes, however, the object of our love changes while we don’t. Sometimes that which we love behaves in an unlovely way, and our love flees. Still worse, sometimes that which we loved changes so radically that love is difficult if not impossible.
I love my country, for at least two reasons. First, it is my country. It is good and right and proper that we should have an affection for that which is closest to us, even if that thing is not the best. Though I’ve never met any, I’m quite certain there are children better behaved than my own. Should I meet such a child, however, it would be wrong to unseat my own children as the object of my love. I love my children because they are mine, and I love my country because it is mine.
Second, my country began as an experiment in liberty. The founding principles of limited government, of freedom of religion, of self-sufficiency, these resonate with me. Many of our founding fathers were true heroes, seeking sagely to apply God’s wisdom to the question of proper government. I still believe in those principles.
Which in turn drives part of why I often don’t love my country. Too often, naïve Christians see modern
through the lens of our history, and miss the hard truth that our nation, both its government and its citizens, have turned their backs on those founding principles. We have become a nation with intrusive government, officially endorsed secularism, and a cradle to grave welfare state. Our money has become debt, and our debts are being repudiated. Our culture has become a moral cesspool, and our children spend their days in state institutions where the state’s instructors may not mention Jesus’ name. America
All of which pales in comparison to our great evil. We live in a country where nine justices, chosen by presidents of both parties, approved by Senators from both parties, have determined that mothers may kill their unborn children at will. That, of course, is bad, wicked, Nazi-like government. The government, however, does not kill any of those children. My country is not just its government, but its people. Those people, over a million of them every year, kill their unborn children. The rest of us know all about it. We know it happens in our neighborhoods, every day. Yet we go to bed each night wondering about this sale at the mall, that big game over the weekend, the latest release from this band. We honestly don’t care. Is this a country worthy of being loved?
We live in what once was a great country, which has now embraced a great evil. Can I love a country like that? Sadly, yes. Am I deeply, profoundly, ashamed to be part of such a country? Not as much as I should be.