Because of the holiday on Thursday, we're taking this week off from challenges. We'll be back with the regularly scheduled challenge in two weeks, but in the meantime, you can enjoy our past challenges here and here.
So have a happy Fourth of July, and remember: We're to love all—friends and enemies, fellow countrymen and those around the world—but it's not wrong to have a special love for your child that goes beyond your love for other children. It's not wrong to have a special love for your family that goes beyond your love for other families. And it's not wrong to have a special love for your country and its people that goes beyond your love for other countries. God has placed us in various circles (families, churches, cities, countries) that He intends for us to specially love and care for.
It's the street where everyone cares specially for his own garden that the most beauty happens for all. Everyone loses on the street where no one feels a particular attachment to his own garden, where no one has a special desire to lovingly tend to the space that has been given to him and his family. So don't be afraid to specially love and work for the good of the country you find yourself in. If you're Canadian, I hope you love Canada. If you're Australian, I delight in seeing you love Australia. And since I'm an American, I'll celebrate the birthday of my country and seek its blessing (though there are other countries), just as anyone would celebrate the birthday of his own child and seek his blessing (though there are other children).
If you react negatively to those who say “God bless America,” ask yourself if anyone hearing a father pray specifically for his son would scold him for not praying instead for "all the children of the world.” Would anyone feel the need to point out that his son is imperfect and unworthy of his special prayers? Do we not rather see the beauty of his familial love? Are we not touched by it and reminded to love our own? Let us love our own more, not less, and rejoice in others loving their own.
From last year's post:
On this Fourth of July, I say, “God bless America!” But saying “God bless America” doesn’t mean, “God, give us prosperity and everything we want.” I’m asking God for good things, but those good things include His granting the people of this nation conviction of our sin, repentance, grace, faith, wisdom, justice and mercy in our treatment of each other, knowledge of the truth, trust in Him, and even suffering, if that suffering will bring about everything else on the list.
Have a happy Fourth of July!