God Loves the World, except for….

“For God so loved the world–except for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and any other country with which the US is in conflict–that He sent his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Does your Bible say that in John 3.16? Mine neither.

Soon after the US invaded Iraq a second time I was sitting in a class on the life of Jesus. Class had just begun and my professor opened with prayer as usual. In that moment, my eyes were opened wide to something I’d been guilty of my entire Christian life. The professor prayed for the safety of Iraqis, including their soldiers. He also prayed for the safety of American soldiers.Can this be? I had never considered it possible to be a Christian in America AND pray for the country’s enemies.

Thoughts of that moment were reawakened this morning in a worship gathering at Hopwood Christian Church when the pastor prayed for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. I was immediately whisked back to that undergraduate classroom opening prayer.Why is it that an enemy of America is often seen as an enemy of Christians who happen to live in America? Do you see a difference in being an American and a Christian?

Does your church pray for these war-torn countries? Do you?

This is a tough issue; I understand that. It’s not a question of whether I, or you, love America. It’s a question of who God loves.



  1. Kyle Reed · March 22, 2011

    yes…a huge difference.
    They are completely separated for me and in fact have no connection being an American and a Christian.

    It is interesting that both have nothing to do with your own personal choosing (I guess you could move out of America if you wanted) but both are completely separated.

    • patricklmitchell · March 22, 2011

      Kyle, it is interesting that we don’t choose and yet place so much emphasis on choice in America, i.e., freedom.

  2. Caleb Reed · March 22, 2011

    I don’t think that being a Christian and being an American are really connected at all. There’s an old Five Iron Frenzy song that this kinda made me think of, a song about how “a piece of cloth can’t hold your faith” and that “Jesus Christ, the only thing that freedom means to me”. When I was younger, I was more of a “patriot”, thinking we were free here. The older I got, the more I realized that the freedom we have here is good, but the freedom we have through Christ is real freedom.

    • patricklmitchell · March 23, 2011

      Great thoughts Caleb, especially regarding a maturing understanding of freedom in Christ: freedom from the earthly promise of freedom.

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