For the first time in my life, I feel a little nervousness as we approach the 4th of July. With so much tension in the air, America the Beautiful – the Home of the Brave – feels like she’s been caught in the crosshairs of sin.
In some ways, it would be much easier to keep going and ignore the date as I post my blog. Somehow, I can’t.
There are certainly problems within our country that we must address, but we must also not continue the “cancel culture” and expand it to entire nations. I may be oversimplifying things, but I think of what it would look like if a group of forward-thinking, tired-of-the-way-things-are people left America today and started another country.
Ideally, they’d get to their new location and evaluate if there’s anything in their previous culture that wasn’t right. They would examine the motives of their hearts, confess all sin, and start over without any of the sins of their past. But that isn’t reality. Why? Because we’re all sinful. We all bring baggage. We all have blind spots.
I have a new perspective from the last several years. As I’ve engaged in conversations to learn about the journeys of African Americans, I realize that when some hear “land of the free” or “all men are created equal,” they aren’t cheering. Rather, they’re reminded of the time when they weren’t counted as men… not even 3/5 of a man at that point. Even when women were given the right to vote in 1920, it was only white women who truly were able to participate. I had honestly never thought from that vantage point before.
America has become this personified being that is taking the blows, but the reality is that America is actually you and me. And just like you and me, we’re neither as great as our biggest fans describe us nor as bad as our worst enemies would say. I also know that just as a person never gets better from constantly being beaten down, that negativity will not help America – us – to fulfill our potential.
What will help America solve its greatest problems? Brave love. We must love enough to listen. We must move forward one conversation at a time. We must each be willing to examine our hearts and to do something different. We must be willing to make changes at the heart level, as well as at the institutional level.
America can do that… if we each do our part. We each have the freedom to make this country a better place. We’re known as the most generous country in the world… let’s be generous to one another as we continue to make this a land that everyone loves.