There has been a lot of division causing controversy for a couple of years now regarding the respect or disrespect of our country’s flag, especially at the playing of our national anthem in sporting or public events. I don’t have to convince you that some are very passionate in their stand, especially those have served or are directly or indirectly tied to someone who has served in the military. As it relates to me, one of my brothers died while in active service in the Air Force and another endured 10 months of hardship and misery in a German concentration camp in the latter stages of WW11. And is spite of the fact that we were affected by the sting of prejudice and racism, which was more blatant and prevalent in those days, our family is and has always been very patriotic. Perhaps, that is one more reason I still get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye every time I see Old Glory passing by.
How do I feel when I see someone kneeling and not standing up at the playing of the national anthem in a public venue? It breaks my heart. Yet, it never causes me to hate or be angry with those who do. We have to keep in mind that not all of them are taking that stand with the purpose of disrespecting the flag, which is how many patriotic Americans view it. We don’t know the heart; only God knows that. Almost everyone who has chosen to kneel during the anthem has declared that it only represents their stand against racism and everything else that, in their eyes, may be wrong with this country. We must also keep in mind that, although many of us totally disagree with that stand, our constitution allows for freedom of speech and expression. Ironically, many died so that we could enjoy this type of freedom, something many nations around the world wish they had.
If it is difficult for God’s children to always be in agreement, what can we expect from those outside the gospel? Paul, addressing the issue of the opposing points of view among Christians, wrote this, among other things: “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5) In other words, be true to what you really believe in your heart. And to those who are intent on “making a statement”, I say this: Helping others, being kind, considerate, understanding, compassionate, merciful and loving, makes a very clear statement too. It says you love God and people. It says you want to bring people together in peace and harmony, not pull them away from each other. I trust, that as a child of God you may agree with this last point, even if you don’t agree with the rest. And because of Christ, I know we can all continue to love one another in spite of our occasional disagreements. In closing, lets ask God to help us deal with this issue, to be firm in our beliefs without marring our Christian testimony. In the end, It is He, and He alone, who can heal our nation and bring us back together.
God’s word for today: (2 Corinthians 13:11) “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
Editor’s note: Please excuse my long absence; I needed some time to take care of some personal matters. I plan to continue writing as often as I can, and as long as I can. On another note, some of you have suggested I write a devotional book comprised of these meditational thoughts since I’ve written more than enough to cover a complete year. The truth is, I don’t even know where to begin. Any ideas or tips by you will be greatly apprerciated, especially if one of you would consider being my agent.