In today’s age, it is rare to be in a public setting and not hear numerous discussions regarding the public protests of our national anthem and the symbol of our freedom–the American flag. I would like to make one observation regarding this issue, without delving in to the ‘rights of protest’.
Almost every analyst is heard asking the same question: “Why do they hate America?” To answer this question, most of the analysts suggest the same litany of reasons why the protests are not only justified, but even required.
Granted, there are many injustices that deserve our attention. With the level of suffering in the world and our nation, it is fitting for us to reflect on the injustices and resolve to help alleviate a measure of injustice.
If we remove just one word from the question that is being asked, we discover a more important issue to ponder. The question, “Why do they hate America?” is appropriate to ask in a purely ‘social’ context. But, in a ‘spiritual’ context of greater importance, simply removing one word could frame the discussion in a more compelling way. For example, should we not be asking the question, “Why do they hate”?
In general, hating America is a temporary concern. It will only last as long as America exists or we live. However, hating in particular is of eternal consequence. When we face God in judgment, He may not be as concerned with our hating America as He is concerned with our hating.
Understand that hating is not the result of the presence of unjust circumstances. It is the result of how we choose to respond to those circumstances. For example, take the tragedy of the Nazi death camps. Two individuals experienced the same horrors and yet left with polar opposite reactions. Elie Wiesel left the death camp with a heart full of bitter anger and resentment. Corrie Ten Boom left the death camp with a heart prepared to live in humble forgiveness. Same circumstance . . . different responses. One chose hate while the other chose forgiveness. It is all a matter of the heart. The same is true of our social controversies.
It is entirely rational that so many are furious with our unjust social conditions. But is hatred our best choice?
Perhaps our responses should more appropriately mirror the counsel of our Lord in Matthew 5:43-48
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward to you have? do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.