Do you hate America? Hate is a very strong word. I propose that unless I hate America, I have no place in the Kingdom of God. That is a jaw-dropping statement, but it is actually quite biblical (stick with me for a minute). Sometimes, the word hate is used when describing the actions or feelings of one group of people against another, as in a hate group. It could also be used on a more individual basis, but most people who profess to be Christians will agree that hate for anyone else has no place in our heart. Let’s look at what the bible says about hate.
There are many verses where John instructs that hate has no place in the life of a follower of Christ. For example, 1 John 3:15 says, “15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” Again, 1 John 4:20 says, “20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”
How does that correlate with what Jesus taught? How does John’s writings match up with the words of Jesus in Luke 14:26? In that verse Jesus said, “26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” If the context of that verse is not studied, it may seem that John may contradict Jesus. And it may seem that Jesus is condoning hatred.
However, Jesus goes on to explain the meaning later in verse 33 where He says, “33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Now, the meaning of the words of Jesus becomes more clear. If one does not see having a relationship with Christ as ultimate with no comparison to even family, then they cannot be His disciple. Hate is a strong word. And here, Jesus used very strong language to tell his followers that their love for Him and relationship with Him should have no comparison to the love and relationship they have for even their own families. As such, we are called to love God supremely, while at the same time loving our families and our neighbors.
In that line of thinking, then we, as followers of Christ, are all called to hate America, as much as we are called to hate “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters”. We are to follow Christ forsaking all else. If one cannot follow Christ to the point of potentially losing the love of their family, then they cannot fully follow Him. If necessary, can you forsake your mother or father for Christ? What about your children? Hopefully those questions will not have to be asked, but what would your answer be? I couldn’t imagine having to make that decision but I hope I would chose Christ.
Can you also forsake your country? What about your rights? Can you give up your 2nd Amendment guns to follow Him? Can you give up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, if necessary, to follow Christ? Again, hopefully those questions will not have to be asked, but what would your answer be?
Let us worship God alone. He alone is worthy. There is no benefit that will come from entangling Christ with government or country. Christ stands alone. For me, any entanglement with the government or country will diminish the supremacy of Christ. He does not need a government or country to affect change in the heart of the lost. In fact, it is my belief that more harm comes from expending so much energy fighting for a “Christian nation” than if that same energy was used to actually reach the lost, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, love one’s neighbor.
However, I also recognize that the love of our fellow Americans is warranted. Yet my love for my fellow Americans is not the same as my love for my family, and especially my love of God. But it isn’t an American’s citizenship that fosters my love for them. It is simply that they, like anyone else in God’s creation, are part of that miraculous creation. And, from a human standpoint, while it is easy to love someone next door more than someone on the other side of the world, I recognize that God’s love for my next door neighbor is no different than His love for that person on the other side of the world. His love for me is no different than his love for a Russian citizen, a Muslim extremist, or an Islamist in African.
For me, there is a sharp distinction between love of a fellow American, and a love of a country. God never intended for His followers of the New Covenant to rule over countries or people, or to have a relationship with a country. If He had, would it not make sense that He would have made the Roman Empire a Christian nation with Christ as the head? Yet after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, Caesar Augustus and Herod Antipas were still on their earthly thrones. Pilate was still the governor. And the polytheistic Roman Empire lasted another 300 years or so.
Kings and kingdoms of this world will all pass away. Yes, even the good old USA. History need only be studied briefly to realize that the vast empires and kingdoms of the past 2,000 years have all gone extinct. The empires the Western Roman Empire of the Caesars, or the “Christian1” nations of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine) of Constantine, the Venetian Empire, the British Empire, and the Spanish Empire as well as others have all come crashing down. As shocking as it may sound, the reality is the same will hold true for America.
Now allow me to ask the question again: Do you hate America? I do not hate America in the sense that I do not have hatred in my heart for the the people of this country. I do not hate living in America. I actually rather enjoy it. However, let us fully embrace the Kingdom of Christ instead of splitting our allegiances between His Kingdom and an earthly one. Showing the love of Christ to someone who may be on the opposite side of the aisle may allow that person to see Christ. While I have had and still have so many flaws, I have personally come out of the aisles of politics to hopefully make it that much easier to foster relationships with both sides of the political divide. Relationships are the first step to introducing Christ. And while some may unfortunately write me off for not taking part in the political process or bowing to nationalism, it has allowed conversations to spark that otherwise may not have even been possible before. Let us not hide the light of Christ under the bowl of politics. It will be nearly impossible to build relationships that foster reconciliation when stones of condemnation intended for the other side are picked up, even if they aren’t thrown.
1Footnote: the reason the word Christian is in quotes is that these empires, while claiming to be Christian, acted very much unlike any nation that would resemble Christ’s teachings. These empires were very murderous and forceful in their approach to government rule. Just consider the violence and depravity of the Crusades or the Inquisition.