Why I Love America

Yesterday was Independence Day in America, the 247th birthday of our country. 

I spent the last twenty-four hours thinking about the USA, praying for our country, visiting the local cemetery to honor those who’ve gone before, and listening to all the fireworks until late last night.

I hope many Americans shared my thoughts on this glorious anniversary of freedom.

Here’s why I love America.

Why I Love America

It’s important to define love before we apply it to a nation or anything else. The word love has many meanings and can be used in different ways. I “love” hot fudge sundaes, but that’s a different kind of attraction. And what many people call love is often just lust or self interest.

When I talk about loving our country, I think of a classic definition of love that I used in my teaching for years. It went something like this: “Love is willing the highest good of God and all sentient beings.” (Sentient means God, angels, or humans that have the ability to feel or experience emotions after conscious reflection.)

Love is willing the highest good of God, angels, and humans.

However, I noticed over the years, that particular definition brought glazed eyes to many young people and needed an update. Here was my new definition:

“Love is doing what’s best for another person from God’s point of view.”

“Doing the best” is the the same as “good willing.” I want others to be blessed, or to experience good in their lives. I don’t carry ill will toward anybody (with the exceptions of Lucifer, Hitler, and a few other despots). 

The second phrase is also important. I want people to experience good, not from my narrow frame of reference, but what God truly knows to best for them. We may not always understand that, but at least we seek his wisdom.

Thus, I love America in the sense that I want the very best for her and her 332 million residents, from God’s vantage point.

There’s another general reason I love my nation. As a follower of Jesus and child of God, I am called to love (want the best for) many things in life including my wife, family, church, friends, leaders, and the entire world.

Since God is love, being full of him means that I love everything around me. I want all people to experience good not bad. A vital part of this attitude is focusing more on the noble than the evil in our fallen world. It’s seeing the “half full cup” instead of complaining about the “half empty one.”

Since human beings were designed by God to be drawn to truth, goodness, and beauty–the cultural trinity–we should desire that all things and people experience the goodness and blessings of God.

In fact, we are called even to love our enemies (want what’s best for them). How’s that for a high calling and a daily attitude to pursue?

Love is a duty of followers of Jesus.

When we ponder various institutions or people that we are called to love, we also think of specific things for which we are grateful or admire. For example, I love my wife and want what’s best for her. But I also love (appreciate) her for many qualities she possesses such as kindness, humility, care for our family, gentleness, wisdom, fervent prayers for loved ones, diligence and service in the home, her forgiveness, and much more. 

There are specific reasons to love nations as well. 

For those of you who live or were born in other lands, I believe that you should love your nation the same way I do mine. In fact, I comment often when meeting foreigners how I love different aspects of their country (of the sixty different countries God has allowed me to visit). I haven’t been in all the nations of the world, but I’m sure there are things to love in them all.

People’s eyes sparkle when you show love and appreciation for their nation.   

Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, is one person who has visited every nation on earth (roughly 200). Knowing his love for God and commitment to the Great Commission (what’s best for God and others), I’m sure he could state something he loves about each and every nation.

That’s the way it should be, even in some of the worst places on earth.

We should always be looking to love.

On a specific level, here are ten reasons I love the United States of America:

  1. It is the country of my birth, heritage, family, and home. A special love can be found in those things which are familiar and an important part of your daily life.
  2. I love America for its beauty and diversity–from sea to shining sea. When I pray for our nation, I often sing “America the Beautiful” and think about our vast forests, prairies, mountains, lakes, nearby oceans, and all the splendors of the “New World.” This week some friends will be camping at Yellowstone National Park. America is filled with these types of wonders of nature and its God.
  3. I love America for its unique heritage in human history of being formed “of the people, for the people, and by the people” to protect God-given rights and resist forms of tyranny.
  4. I love the founding documents of our nation–the Declaration of Independence that we celebrated yesterday, and the U.S. Constitution. They remain two of the most brilliant pieces of civil polity ever written. The Declaration is our “vision statement” (why we exist) and the Constitution is our governmental “mission statement”  (what we will do to achieve it). No better written foundation for human happiness exists on earth (outside of the Bible).
  5. I love America’s sacrifices in rescuing the world from the clutches of tyranny three times during the 20th century in World Wars I and II and the Cold War with Russia. We also rebuilt Europe and Japan our own tax dollars instead of conquering and subjugating them.
  6. I love American free enterprise (Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was published on March 9, 1776–just four months before the original Independence Day) which has helped elevate billions of people out of poverty worldwide over the past century. 
  7. I love the America work ethic, inventiveness and curiosity, including our ability to put the first human beings on the moon.
  8. I love America for being the last great hope for freedom on earth–and for protecting the peace worldwide for generations.
  9. I love America because its freedoms allow us to to be “self-correcting”–such as in the Civil War to abolish slavery. We need to make some new corrections (repentance) in the 21st century.
  10. I love America for being the leading nation in world evangelization–sharing the Good News of Jesus in more nations than any other country in history. 

I want each of us to practice the big three toward our own nation–faith, hope, and love.

John Adams did when he penned these words to his wife, Abigail, on July 2, 1776:

“I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than the means.”

I believe in America.

I have hope for America.

And I love America.

And the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

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