As far as kingdoms go, my primary loyalty is to Jesus and his kingdom. Canada is a distant second, but second nonetheless.
I celebrate my country today the way I hope people celebrate me when the time comes for those reflections. I hope they acknowledge that I have flaws and imperfections, that I fail at times to do what I know is best, and that I occasionally delay right actions for fear of the consequences.
And then I hope they are able to say “but”…
But he works hard to address his imperfections, apologizes when apologies are needed, and takes action – even if sometimes later than he could have. I hope they are able to say they have helped me in my journey, intervened when necessary, and encouraged me to do the right thing even when I am reluctant.
And then I hope they say, “I really love that guy! Despite his imperfections, I love him.”
This is how I think of Canada – a nation I love so much it brings me to tears. A nation that is respected around the world for many good reasons. Many of us take this for granted. We focus constantly on Canada’s failures and imperfections and seem to suppress the many good words that could be said. We should seek to say all the words – the words of criticism and the words of appreciation.
Some Canadians seem to enjoy indulging in self-hatred (and not the kind that Jesus advocated). Self-reflection is healthy. Doing the hard work of change is too. But self-hatred leads only to more hurt – for yourself and for others.
It is most certainly time for us to face, address, and correct our historical failures. I hope we can do that in the same we would face, address, and correct our personal failures. Not by hating who we are and writing ourselves off, but by acknowledging the lump in our throat and knot in our stomachs and saying, “Something needs to change – and by God’s grace, I will do better.”
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God says this: “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” This was a promise made to Israel as a nation, not to Canada as a nation. Canada as a nation is not “God’s chosen people.” But within this nation are people who belong to the Kingdom of God. And if those of us who claim to belong to that Kingdom will humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, God will hear from heaven and forgive our sins. Inevitably, healing would follow.
The path forward is not self-hatred; it is repentance.
Celebrate Canada today the way you would celebrate a good friend. Pray for blessing as you acknowledge failures and celebrate accomplishments. Encourage by kind words and correct with harsh but loving words when necessary. Take action where it is within your power to do so. Take everything else to prayer.