Many years ago, I heard a sermon by an Australian evangelist. I only remember one thing from that message (read this in an Aussie accent if you can):
“I don’t know why you Americans are always complaining. You live in the greatest country in the world!”
I can’t remember anything else, but that thought stuck with me. It’s an interesting observation from someone watching us from the outside. I don’t have the perspective to know if we are indeed living in the greatest country in the world, but I’d like to think we are.
It’s true that America isn’t perfect. It’s true that there are plenty of frustrations to go around. It’s true that some things are unjust. It’s true that some things don’t match up to our best aspirations as a nation.
But is everything irredeemably wrong and impossibly broken? Of course not. We are blessed with so much that is good and hopeful! Whatever concerns we have, I hope they are accompanied by gratitude for that which is good and right.
To be sure, we should never turn a blind eye to what is wrong. When we claim our place in the Methodist family, we promise to “resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves”. God’s people are always and everywhere called to be a force for good.
But I would lift up Paul’s timeless words from Philippians 4:8 as we look forward to celebrating Independence Day:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Well said, Brother Paul!