In a nation that’s increasingly polarized, it’s easy to become entangled in the fervor of nationalism, even when it takes on a religious veneer.
Christian Nationalism, a blend of patriotism and faith, has been on the rise in the United States. While it may seem appealing, it’s essential to remember that our primary allegiance as Christians should be to Christ and his teachings, not to any nation or political agenda.
The Call of Christ
Imagine the scene: a dusty road, a crowd gathered, a charismatic middle eastern man is speaking words of life. His name was Jesus, and he called out to anyone who would listen, “Come, follow me.” His invitation wasn’t about adhering to a specific political agenda or pledging loyalty to a nation. Instead, it was a call to follow him in a lifestyle of love, mercy, humility, and inclusivity.
In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus tells us, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
But who is our neighbor? In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus paints a picture of a man from a despised foreign culture extending kindness and mercy to a stranger in need. This story is a powerful reminder that our “neighbor” extends beyond our national borders and cultural boundaries.
Jesus and the Powers of This World
When asked about his kingdom, Jesus replied in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” These words suggest that the kingdom Jesus is building isn’t tied to a specific nation or political power— it’s a kingdom of hearts transformed by his love.
Jesus also taught us to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). These words remind us that while we should respect and obey our earthly governments, our ultimate allegiance is to God.
Reconsidering our Allegiance
Christian Nationalism can be alluring. It can make us feel like we’re standing up for our faith, protecting our values. But let’s remember the humble Jewish man from Nazareth, who loved the outcasts, healed the sick, and preached a message of love and forgiveness.
As followers of Christ, our loyalty should not lie with any political party or nation. Our loyalty should be to the Kingdom of God— a kingdom not built by power or might, but by the Spirit of God moving in the hearts of those who choose love over hate, mercy over judgment, and peace over violence.
Our Faith Beyond Borders
Let’s step out of our comfort zones. Let’s reach out to the ‘Samaritans’ in our lives. Let’s love our neighbors— no matter where they’re from, what language they speak, or what religion they practice. Because that’s what it truly means to follow Christ.
In a world filled with division and strife, let’s be the peacemakers Jesus called us to be. Let’s be known for our love, not our nationalism. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about which nation we belong to— it’s about belonging to Christ and sharing His love with the world.