One Nation Under God
Last week many people remembered America’s history as they celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Probably many of us thought about times past and longed for present days to be more like those were. The truth is that America has long been home to people. Therefore, since the first ancestor of America’s native nations arrived here, our history has always been a mixture of good and bad.
This is what I wrote about that in America the Beautiful, in a lesson which covers from 2008 until the present.
On some unknown date, the first ancestor of America’s native nations set foot on the land that became the United States of America. That person and every person who has lived here since then have shared two traits: God created us in His image; and sometimes we do the right thing, and sometimes we do the wrong thing.
The Bible says it this way: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). “[A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . . “ (Romans 3:23). The Bible also teaches us that we all have a common ancestor: “[A]nd He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation . . . ” (Acts 17:26).
Too often people have not believed that we are all equally valuable creations of God. Therefore, sometimes people treat people who are different from themselves—in skin color, in nationality, in political party, in the amount of money they have—as less valuable. Prejudice is thinking less of someone else because of these kinds of characteristics. Mistreating others because of prejudice is always wrong. No two Americans are likely ever to think exactly alike about everything, but we still must respect each other.
Americans united after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. They prayed and they remembered, just as President Bush asked them to do. The Bible teaches us: “. . . with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves . . .” (Philippians 2:3b). Many Americans lived that way after 9/11. Tens of thousands of people—firemen, policemen, soldiers, ministers, government officials, counselors, doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more—did what they could to make America safe.
Millions of Americans continue to live that way today. America also struggles with division. Our pledge of allegiance states that we are “one nation under God.” To be truly one nation under God, we must study God’s Word to find out what He wants us to do. We must approve what He approves. While we do this, we must treat all people the same way we want them to treat us. We must love our neighbors as ourselves. We must remember that we, too, sin and fall short of the glory of God.
You have the opportunity every day to teach your children those truths for their own good and the good of our nation. What a tremendous opportunity.
As Paul told the men of Athens in the Areopagus in the first century AD:
The God who made the world and all things in it,
since He is Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in temples made with hands;
nor is He served by human hands,
as though He needed anything,
since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
and He made from one man
every nation of mankind to live
on all the face of the earth,
having determined their appointed times
and the boundaries of their habitation,
that they would seek God,
if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him,
though He is not far from each one of us;
for in Him we live and move and exist,
as even some of your own poets have said,
“For we also are His children.”
Being then the children of God,
we ought not to think
that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone,
an image formed by the art and thought of man.
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance,
God is now declaring to men
that all people everywhere should repent,
because He has fixed a day
in which He will judge the world in righteousness
through a Man whom He has appointed,
having furnished proof to all men
by raising Him from the dead.