You may have heard there’s an election taking place. Not to worry, I won’t be taking a political stance here or turning this into a place for conservative versus liberal fodder, but it would be remiss of me to act as though we aren’t on the cusp of a sizable moment in our nation’s history—a moment that seems to be gripping every Christian in many ways. Whatever your stance, you will likely be talking about what it means to vote (or not) with your children, just as you talk about other things dear to those who call America home.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
While I am immensely proud to come from a family tree with numerous men wearing a military uniform and defending this nation, I do not elevate my love for this country to a place equal to my love for Jesus, because Jesus doesn’t elevate us to that place. This truth has been resonating with me more and more as November approaches. Yet even my four year old knows the Pledge of Allegiance and is learning that we take off our hats when singing the National Anthem. These are little things many of us are passing down to the next generation. But what I want to share is that while we teach our children these symbolic acts of respect, we need to always bring the lesson full circle and teach them that being born in this country does not make any of us more valuable to God than someone born in a place with a different flag. Since most of us appreciate practical application, here are a few ways you can cross the i’s and dot the t’s when talking about love of country versus love for the world.
- God tells us to pray for our leaders, so do it and pray for their salvation. But as you pray for those in positions of authority, follow up with the obvious discussion that, no matter what, God is the ultimate authority and we follow His commands.
- Sponsor a child from another country. There are several ministries that will allow you to partner with them to provide for a child. Your kids can see what this child looks like and make someone who is physically far away very real to your family. This also gives them a better understanding of what it means to be adopted into God’s family.
- Hang maps on your walls and talk about the creativity of God as He made so many unique people and places. This may seem elementary, but many adults weren’t taught to look outside their own walls. Physically look at those maps and instill a love in your children for all people.
- Go overseas…or just over the bridge. Make diversity more tangible by taking your children on mission trips—whether that be overseas or just to downtown Dallas. There are plenty of places and ways you can serve as a family, and we will include links with some suggestions on our closed parenting page here.
Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O LORD, we have waited for You eagerly; Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. (Isaiah 26:8)
What I am hoping to pass on to my children is that while I deeply love the United States, God deeply loves every child in every nation, and what matters most is pledging our allegiance to Him. I want the believers of the United States to remember our ultimate call to love God and love others. So, while we are busy planting seeds of patriotism, let us make certain to never cease planting seeds of passion for all people whether in Texas or Turkey, New York or Nigeria, and to think with compassion about the entire world God made. When we say “one nation under God” let us hear “one people under God,” united in faith for our good and His glory!
For His Renown,
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and recently welcomed the arrival of their first little girl. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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