I do not wish to completely disparage our country to the point that some go to, assuming, because of these atrocities, that everything about America is bad.  If you are a student of history, then you know that we are no better or worse than many other countries in our national sins.  Yet, our form of government is still humanity's best chance at a good life.  In a speech to Parliament, Winston Churchill said of Democracy:  “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  The ironic humor in this quote captures the truth that there is no form of government or country that is perfect.  Because man is inherently flawed and prone to sin, then every institution that man devises will also be inherently flawed and prone to sin.  In Lamentations 3, we are told that “it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.”  In a fallen world, it is a miracle in itself that our lives are not continually a disaster, and if there is any good in our lives, that is proof enough of a loving God who is intervening in our lives and blessing us in spite of the fact that we do not deserve His Blessings.  But, it is also a miracle that we are not consumed by our own sins and errors, constantly bringing tragedy upon ourselves. 

Furthermore, it is in spite of our national and personal sins that God has blessed us as a nation because, for at least part of our country’s history, the majority of the people sought to follow God in their own humble way.  I’m not so sure that the majority still seek Him.  On the “liberal/progressive” side of our culture, God and belief in God has been abandoned in preference for a government god that supposedly can supply all of our needs cradle to grave; their rejection of God was all too clear in the vote at last year's Democratic convention about the mention of God in their platform.  Unfortunately, the god that they have chosen to follow, government, is exposed more every day as weak and false by the evidence of
socialist countries crumbling  beneath the weight of their foolish debt.  Trying to be god comes at a very high price.  It would be bad enough if only one segment of our society was rejecting God, but people on that side of our society are not alone in that folly. 

Even on the “conservative” side, where you would expect to find more reverence for God, and subsequently more humility and compassion, you all too often find rigid legalism and belief in the god of political solutions rather than the One True God.  But, in spite of all our flaws as a nation, rejection of God and moral atrocities are not peculiar to our country.  They have probably occurred in most if not all nations as we have repeatedly descended into sinful wickedness and treated our fellow man as a nuisance fit for any abuse we might dream up.  You find a perfect example of this dynamic in Nazi Germany and their extermination camps for anybody and everybody that didn’t fit the arbitrary and amorphous model of Aryan perfection.  Nazi Germany is just one more example of our tendency to be prejudiced and to judge others as less than human.  

The absurdity of this thinking is brilliantly captured in one of my favorite movies La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful) written by, directed by, and starring Roberto Begnini.  I’ve watched this film both in the subtitled version with the original Italian and in the dubbed over English version.  Both versions were excellent.  If you’ve seen the film, you know that it was a comedy set in Italy before and during WWII as fascism was a rising political movement.  In one of my favorite scenes from the film, Begnini, playing the central protagonist Guido Orefice, leads an unwitting class of Italian children in a fascist propaganda lesson by pointing out the features of his own perfect Aryan body.  This scene is comedic brilliance, using dramatic irony, since we in the audience know that he is Jewish and not Aryan at all.  Subsequently, Begnini sets up a teaching moment for the audience in realizing that we are all really alike.  There is no real, significant difference in us as human beings, no matter who we may be, where we may live, what we may believe.  We all have the same feelings, hopes, dreams, talents, desires, etc., no matter what culture we live in.  We all desire to be loved and to have meaningful lives.

I pray that, today, you will experience the Tremendous Love of Our Awesome God.  Never forget that you are loved by Him with a Passionate, Personal, and Limitless Love.  I pray as well that you will seek to emulate His Amazing Love by being a loving servant to all those you may encounter in your daily life.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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