What does true patriotism look like? If you follow politics then you know the word patriotism and patriot is used a lot. Politicians claim they are patriotic. Opponents state the other guy is not. Whole parties are claimed to be unpatriotic. What defines patriotism is often subjective.
Jeremiah the Patriot
Jeremiah had a great love for his nation. He was a patriot. He mourned the judgment coming upon the people. He understood the sin of the people and spoke out against the sin. He also understood God’s judgment because of sin. In chapter 38 Jeremiah has been told by God to preach that the city will be destroyed. This is not an easy message for Jeremiah, but it is the truth. Jeremiah had a love for his people. However, he had a greater love for God and speaking the truth.
The result of Jeremiah preaching this message was a strong accusation. The accusation was clear, Jeremiah is being unpatriotic. He is hurting the nation with his words. He is discouraging the fighting men. Because of these so-called unpatriotic actions and words of Jeremiah, he was thrown into a cistern to die.
What do we learn about patriotism from Jeremiah?
Patriotism is not ignoring sin
If people speak out against sin or injustice, it is a temptation to label them unpatriotic. We might ask how dare they speak out against our great country. The mentality is that true patriotism means that we blindly believe that everything our nation does is good.
Ignoring sin is not patriotism. It is idolatry. When you give your nation the same characteristics of God, namely moral perfection, then you have a new god. Instead, patriots recognize what is wrong in our society and speak out against those sins and injustices, calling the nation to repent, because we know that God judges nations.
This is the clear example of Jeremiah. He was a patriot, but spoke out against sin!
Patriotism involves honesty
Blind allegiance to any nation or party within a nation is not patriotism. Usually, because this blind allegiance leads to being dishonest with yourself. You allow yourself to “buy” everything that is being “sold.” Instead we need to be honest. We need to be honest about the good and the bad that we see. We need to have a mature discerning mind that recognizes when a a nation or a party has gone astray. Then be willing to speak out against what we see is sin or injustice.
Jeremiah was honest about the situation. He was honest about the sin he saw and the coming destruction. We should be as well. We should be willing to see the sin and be discerning enough that eventually sin leads to destruction of nations.
Patriotism involves love for your nation
“Loving the nation” is not a sin. Jeremiah had a great love for his country and lamented deeply because of its destruction. Love for something requires that we seek its best. Thus when we love our nation we are seeking what is best for it. As a Christian we understand that what is best for our nation is that it promotes righteousness and not sin. In order to do this we must be true patriots like Jeremiah. Patriots who from a deep love of our people are willing to tell the truth.
That is True Patriotism!