You would think that the pain and suffering that we experience would teach us a little about the pain and suffering of others. But, too often, it doesn’t.
You would think that having a loved one face life-threatening violence would cause us to stop exposing others to life-threatening violence. But, too often, it doesn’t.
It seems to me that knowing the fear, pain, confusion, and hurt that is associated with our suffering would move us in a way so that we would never want to see another human suffer. But, too often, it doesn’t.
As we continue to hear stories of lost U.S. lives in Iraq, you would think that we would all finally open our eyes to the horrific nature of violence and destruction. Yet, many Americans are still being supportive of the President and his war. To them, I ask: isn’t it a bit hypocritical to ask God to bless our nation while supporting agendas that perpetuate violence and hatred toward others? Granted, most war supporters are not violent themselves, but they surely can’t be following Jesus’ lead when it comes to loving the enemy.
Something seems fundamentally wrong when we sing “God Bless America” and offer up prayers, while -- in the same breath -- we vocalize support for an agenda which sends kids off to foreign lands to kill [or be killed by] the "enemy". It’s kinda like saying, "Please God! Help my team win!” while you're breaking the leg of your opponent’s quarterback.
Does God only hear America’s prayers? Does God hear the prayers for our nation’s deliverance, while completely ignoring those who live opposite of our views? If God hears our prayers knowing full well our potential for sin, who’s to say that God doesn't also hear the prayers of those who differ from us?
If we are going to pray for our nation, I think that God also expects us to pray -- with the same intensity -- for others, including our enemies. Too often, we don’t. I wonder how that impacts God’s decisions. I suspect that He’s telling us "Dude, I know you love your country and everything, but you’re not the only place on the planet. How ‘bout sharing some of those prayers with other people? And, yes, that includes those cats you don’t like…”
As a nation, we need to learn to pray for our enemies. I believe that this is a significant mark of spiritual maturity. How mature is it to pray for those you dislike with as much passion and fervor as you would for those you love?! While we beg for God to bless our nation, we should remember the Iraqi woman who just lost her husband and daughter in a gunfight. While we pray for a family member or friend to come home safely, we should remember to pray for that young Iraqi fighter who's about to go on a suicide bombing mission. Simply put, we should seek to transform our views of the world and, especially, the way that we live. Our prayer lives should not only be for our own healing…but for the healing of the world.
May God continue to bless America.
But may He also bless:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo Dem. Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua-New, Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Sao Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St.Kitts e Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent e Grenadine, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.