I tweeted this a while back:
I told myself I’d only spend 140 characters on this thought, not an entire blog post. But obviously it’s a bigger issue to me than I realized because I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I tweeted this when I was fed-up with post after post about all the stereotypical, negative qualities of the United States. Posts about how hypocritical, selfish, close-minded, etc etc etc Americans are… And I’m just getting tired of it.
Everywhere you turn, people (especially Christians, it seems) are bashing the United States. They talk about how they can’t stand how small our worldview is and thus how ignorant we are of other countries and cultures. They hate how materialistic we are and “benevolent” so we can pat ourselves on the back and fall asleep at night. Everything we do is wrong.
Now, I can’t argue with any of these statements. I’ve traveled to other parts of the world, and I fully realize Americans are generally narcissistic, self-seeking, and often sheltered. We fail in so many ways, myself very much included.
But that’s the part I think most people leave out: they are included. Now, no one is going to say outright, “All Americans are terrible except for me!” But many imply it—and very subtly, I might add. It’s so easy to point out the gaping faults in our country, thereby suggesting you are above them. After all, if you’re able to see problems, you must not be connected to them, right?
Life would be so much better if we could just pick up and move to another continent, wouldn’t it? In Asia or Africa, you might say, we wouldn’t have to deal with snobs and billionaires. We wouldn’t have to be associated with intolerance and intentional isolation. Sounds awesome. But would it be?
Would it be awesome to move to a country without selfishness but with real witchcraft? What about somewhere not quite as ignorant but with massive, uncontrolled human trafficking? Or a country not focused so much on materialism as it is on murdering one another by the thousands? Because every country has its faults. And every country has its faults because every person has his faults. We’re not dealing with an American problem, we’re dealing with a human heart problem. And if we think the way to deal with it is by escaping, I think we’ve got a lot to learn.
The devil prowls this world like a lion, and he prowls everywhere. You may be tired of the ungodliness you see in the U.S., but I promise you’ll see the same sin in any other country if you look long enough. Because the same fallen people live there—people with a natural bent towards greed, power, pleasure, and self-centerdness.
Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t live in other countries—this is not an American dominance post. I simply mean you shouldn’t hate the United States and maybe even want to leave it because of the evil you see. The enemy who’s at work here is at work everywhere. My point is that, at the core, all nations are equally sinful because all people are equally sinful. So don’t take the easy way out by blaming everything on America.
Don’t hate this country to make yourself feel better. Yes, you should continue to recognize Satan’s activity and do everything in your power to fight against him. But don’t give him leverage by acting like he’s already won. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” which may mean gaining another viewpoint overseas or staying in the U.S. and living a life of rebellion against mainstream America.
But no matter where you live, the worst thing you can do for that place is hate and disassociate yourself from it. Places need our support and our conscious effort to make them better. So do what you must. Seek out the beauty in the wreckage (because God’s more active than His foe), and cling to that beauty instead of evil every single day.