I got yelled at while shopping yesterday.
My son was carrying a decorative American flag and he dropped it. He’s two years old and often loses his grip, especially when he’s pretending to use them as race flags while he screams, “Ready, Set, GO!!”
When he dropped it, I was walking with my cart and I ran over it. Before I stepped on it, I picked it up and it was then that a portly gentleman saw the whole thing and decided to speak to me before I had a chance to get fully upright.
“Don’t you teach your kids to respect that flag?! That flag means everything to this country!” He bellowed at me while shaking a finger at the “idol” I held in my hand.
What this gentleman didn’t know is that I am very patriotic.
I hold our military and public service officers in very high regard. Half of my family is serving or has served in nearly every single branch of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard. I take the sacrifice these families – not only those who’ve died protecting us, but also those still serving and their wives still struggling with being alone in the parenting & fear thing – very seriously.
However, what I wanted to tell this man had he given me the chance was that while our flag represents the freedom that we have and all those who’ve fought for that freedom, it was still 12-inches of a wooden dowel attached to a piece of colored fabric.
The flag symbolizes something, something important to our history as a nation, but it ought not to be what we worship. It is an inanimate object, with no power to do anything but sit there and wave with the wind.
You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” — Leviticus 26:1
God alone is worthy to be worshipped.
No matter how many brave souls fought for our freedom as a nation, the flag should never become an idol. It should never replace God’s place in our admiration, fervor, passion, attention, worship, or glory.
For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” — Acts 17:23-27
I appreciate this gentleman’s fervor for patriotism, I recognize that he may have suffered a great deal serving this country himself. However, I don’t appreciate being scolded by a stranger because my son dropped a flag he was playing with.
So, before we go out and raise our flags (I have some too), let us first remember that it is God who grants this nation freedom and He uses the amazing men and women in this country to bring about His will in our freedom stake.