By Pastor Scott W. Rosekrans
For God so loved the United States of America that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the United States of America to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
Wait! That’s not what John 3:16 says! My point exactly and, in spite of the fact that I’m not seminary trained, I think this is one I get.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that God doesn’t love the USA. I have no doubt that God loves America just as much as any other country around the world. There may be times when God is very proud of America and other times when He is greatly disappointed. I mean, God loved the nation of Israel (talk about joys and disappointments!), His chosen people, but God sent His Son into the world to save the world. Jesus told his disciples he would send them to the “ends of the earth” in His name. God gave us Gentiles, the Apostle Paul, and others to help connect us to God’s will and desire for the world.
I have a rule, attributed to Mark Twain, that I try to abide by. Never argue with a fool because he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. Sometimes, I can’t help myself. I’m trying a new approach, one that involves being the voice of reason and, at the same time, not being judgmental or threatening.
Here’s my latest example. A Facebook acquaintance recently reposted something someone said about the Central American refugee crisis. The post was certainly one that would rub those on the other side the wrong way. I thought, hey, here’s my chance to try out my new approach.
The first responder to the post remarked about how it was a humanitarian crisis and stated the facts as he saw them.
Immediate response from CR: “Not our problem!” followed up by another responder, AF, who said: “They have a choice to stay at their own country and feed those babies!”
Enter Scott Rosekrans: “See Matthew 25:31-46.” Enter CR: “As I said, NOT OUR PROBLEM!” Scott Rosekrans: “See Deuteronomy 10:19.”
DPC, another responder, added: “Fight for your own country! I agree, not our problem!”
Scott Rosekrans: “See John 3:16.”
Try as I may, I couldn’t get anyone to engage, although I did get one like on the Deuteronomy reference. At least I didn’t escalate the debate. Maybe they didn’t want to engage some religious “nut” job who was trying to drag them up to his level.
Please understand that I’m not looking to pick a fight where I will be dragged down and beaten with experience. I just believe that we United Methodists, Christians of all stripes, others who believe in God or a higher power, and the United States should be leading the fight to spread God’s love, mercy and righteousness. I am so thankful that The United Methodist Church has a worldwide presence, as do other denominations. I firmly believe there is common ground upon which we can all agree and work to “save the world through Him.”
It shouldn’t be any more personal than our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Wish me luck!
Scott Rosekrans serves as pastor to the people of Community United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, Washington.