When the Green Bays Packers won the Super Bowl two years ago, I was proud. Not proud of myself. I didn’t do anything to win the game. And I wasn’t proud that they were World Champions. Although I was more than a little happy that they won. No, I was proud because of the way the players on the team conducted themselves. I was proud that they could achieve so much and yet maintain a sense of humility and perspective. I was proud of them, and I was happiest, because they were the answer to my prayers. For, you see, with one quarter left in the game, I prayed to God that, win or lose, they would give glory to God. Almost immediately after the game, the media got a mic on Greg Jennings. What was his reaction to winning? Greg replied, “To God be the glory.” Thanks for being the answer to my prayer, Greg.
People ask me if I’m proud to be an American. It’s a really interesting question. Why would I be proud to be an American? Did I do something to become an American? No. I’m an American by accident of birth. Does being an American make me a better person than someone who is not an American, just by virtue of my American-ness? I mean, am I part of some master race? No. No matter what nationality my forebears claim, America is the melting pot of all, and all, as the Declaration declared, are created equal in the eyes of God.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very happy to be an American, given the options. I believe that I am very blessed to be an American. I will do my level best to be the best American I can be. I will stand up for my country. I will exult in the beauty that is this great land. I will pledge my allegiance to the flag, and to the Republic, and its Constitution, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible. I will try to help America in it’s pledge to hold out liberty and justice for all.
The Bible says that pride goes before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction. I am not proud to be an American, but I love to do my part to make her fulfill all of her promise. I am not proud of America, but I love Americans who strive to help her be free of tyranny and hold the promise of freedom for everyone. The founders certainly set high standards for America, perhaps higher than she can ever reach. Yet I am happy to stand up for those ideals and I strive to help America to reach them. However, I am only humbled to be a part of such great blessing. I cannot be proud.
America is in the throws of great debates in these turbulent times. She teeters between maintaining her place as the country like which all others strive to be, or just another mediocre welfare state. She has come a long way from her past glory. But America is still the best country on this earth. Sure the grass sometimes looks greener on the other side. But you don’t have to peel back very many layers on the onion before the reality of the problems in other countries makes your eyes water. We see America, warts and all, as if we view her on a high definition screen, while we see other countries as if on the old tube TV. It’s not that easy to hide our problems, while it’s not that easy to see the flaws of other countries. But you know those flaws are deep, because people of the world are still clamoring to come to America. This in spite of how many rail against her, from the terrorists abroad to those even in the halls of government at home.
For many years, I have had a hard time celebrating the Fourth of July, Independence Day. This is because I have spent the last twenty years researching America’s dark side. But something has happened. I studied so much about her and her relationship to other nations that I can’t but understand just how much she is still the beacon of light in this world. So, this year, I am going to celebrate just how gracious God has been to this country, and just how much he has blessed me through it. I am going to appreciate that fact that I can join my fellow Americans in celebration without being forced into lockstep or threatened with violence and jail time for doing so. I am going to rejoice in the fact that I can still go and come as I please without a citizen card or checkpoints. These is still much to do to save this country and make her strong again. But, for one day, I’m going to appreciate what I have, and not long for what I have not.