We must listen … really listen, and go deeper than the surface arguments. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me (and that is not my purpose), but I do hope to help people think outside of their personal boxes. It has been repeated lately: “Saying that taking to a knee has to do with the flag is like saying Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation.” I have stated that I would stand, that I do not like the protests, and that I served in our military. However, the flag is not my idol. This nation is not my god. I love our flag and our country, and with that should be a deep and sincere desire to inconvenience myself to try to gain a better understanding, appreciation, and empathy for other people within this country, especially people who are not like me and that I may disagree with.
When people get offended and rude at those trying to understand, it ironically seems to manifest an attitude of apathy toward issues that are dear to others … others who have long felt insulted, injured, and abandoned by their own. We must cease being angry about a thing and apathetic about a person.
One’s patriotism ends when he or she would rather someone stand for the flag or not lock arms than learn (really and deeply learn) what his or her reasons are for not standing or for locking arms. One’s “American exceptionalism” ends when he or she chooses to assume that peaceful protesters are proud, thugs, ungrateful, etc. instead of him or her choosing to get off of your proverbial easy chair which holds his or her “this is what America is” soda cup and sincerely attempt to reach out and reach over to see what others have gone through, are going through, feel deeply, and care about.
This is deeper than patriotism versus disrespect, the NFL, or the President. It hits to the core of the soul of our nation, and my deepest burden is for those who claim Christ as Lord. It has to be more about people than a flag. The flag saga is but a test for us to see what is most important to us – the cloth or Americans (all of them.)
I wonder if those in other countries think it strange that there is such controversy about a flag and yet little concern for all people of the “Republic for which it stands.”
It is a sad day when there is more activity on a social media post about our flag then on a post about our Savior. That is quite telling.
Hopefully, we can grow in maturity to listen to one another (even those not like us, or who disagree with us) in order to understand one another so there can indeed be "liberty and justice for all."
For me, this whole flag thing is much deeper, and has revealed in me that I need to come out of my comfort zone to find out more about people (all kinds) in order for me to understand (with my heart, not only my head) so that I can do my part to love my neighbor (all of them, even the ones who take a knee.) This is not easy for me, but I am trying and I want to be more wise, empathetic, and helpful.
I realize (personally) how thoughts go to loved ones who served our country in the military when the National Anthem is played, and I get that and appreciate that. However, I think many people … including me … do not really see, nor understand, what some in our country feel and know. I want that to change in me, and I am not going to get offended enough to keep trying. I am hoping others will try too.
I will still enjoy watching the NFL, and I will hope that our nation will see past their personal colors, preferences, diversionary tactics, ratings and rantings, ... and come together as "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Believers in Jesus Christ must be especially careful in this, so as to not make one’s patriotism become synonymous to his or her Christianity, as if one cannot exist without the other. We must not allow our political leanings and preferences to guide our gospel, thus making a false gospel. Of course we would never say that we are guilty of that, but actions sometimes speak louder than words.
I hope that our love for our soil does not diminish our love for a soul. Let's pledge allegiance to this too.
“My little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21