Rights, Right, and Righteous Indignation

I am an idea person. I have all these great big ideas, but I am rarely in a position to actually make many of my ideas happen. And right now, I have this idea, but I’m not really in a position to make it happen.

You see, like many of you, I have been following the current debate over the protests related to “taking a knee” during the National Anthem at the beginning of football games. Personally, the older I get, the more emotional I become when I hear the National Anthem played, especially since I understand what our freedom means after living outside our country. Many people whom I love and know have served in the military, and I love the United States of America.

Because we live in the United States of America, we have unalienable RIGHTS as stated in the Declaration of Independence and specifically in the Bill of Rights, to freedom of expression.

Yet, many people do not think the protests are being done in the RIGHT way. This then leads to RIGHTEOUS indignation by parties on both sides of the issue. And that is not the only issue of disagreement. Every subject seems to bring out strongly expressed opinions.  My heart is so heavy when I see so much mean and hate-filled comments.

But wait, this article is not a political post. And my idea is coming.

See, we have become a nation divided, and there are so many different sides and issues with people engaging in RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION over the absolute certainty that they are RIGHT and the other side is wrong, that there is no room for grace and mercy in our interactions.

I follow the Proverbs 31 Ministry’s First 5 App, Proverbs 31 First 5 app, and this morning’s devotion was on Lamentations 3:40 – 66. Lamentations is about suffering due to disobedience, and yet, still finding hope. I like to read comments, and I read three that gave me an idea. Darline spoke about moving forward even when things are hard and taking that next step, Diane referenced Elisabeth Eliot’s radio programs and Ms. Eliot’s encouragement to “Do the next thing” when feeling overwhelmed, and Sonja included a prayer asking that we could take a knee to pray and not protest.

So, here’s my idea, or my question. . .

What if we organize some sort of Christian response to pray on our knees for our country and ask for forgiveness?

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people would humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive them and heal their land” (NIV).

Our land is definitely broken, and in our righteous indignation, we are practicing pride. We feel justified to judge and criticize.

In Deuteronomy 6:5, we are given the first commandment, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” In Matthew 22: 37 – 40, Jesus expands on this while being tested by the Pharisees, “He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most import command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

As Christians, we are to love God first, and others second.  Yet, it seems expressions and acts of Christ’s love seem to occur more rarely than judgmental and angry statements.  It feels like were being manipulated into a false sense of self-righteousness and defensiveness. Perhaps we have made being RIGHT more important than loving others.

I don’t currently attend any football games, and I don’t know what it would look like to be able to do this without adding to the disrespect to our flag if done during the playing of the National Anthem, but it’s an idea. Maybe it can be done before or after a game. Or maybe at a specific time, like even during halftime. I don’t know. It’s an idea.

What would it mean to have such a public expression of humility and prayer for forgiveness? What would it mean for Christians, and what would it mean for our nation?

Maybe this idea is something someone else knows how to implement. I’m just saying, we aren’t heading in the right direction with all this pride. Let’s continue to pray for one another and treat each other the way we are commanded – with the love of God.