*A Global Gates missionary in Queens, New York, who was once an immigrant from South Asia to the United States and is now an American citizen, shares why he continues to love America despite all of its terrible flaws and imperfections as a country.
Last week our author covered how the United States provides opportunities for immigrants to pursue a better life for themselves and their families. This week he dives into the beliefs and values our country were founded on and that still shape us as a nation. He expresses how they give him hope for the future despite the current upheaval.
3. All men are created equal – As someone from a country where the value of life is determined by your family, caste, and economic status, it baffles me that anyone on American soil can call 911 and receive immediate help regardless of their socioeconomic status.
As a pastor in New York City, I have often dialed 911 to help neighbors in crisis. I have seen first responders come immediately to aid and resolve each case. The reason the unjust murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Tylor, and a host of other black lives deserves a national outrage and a cultural reformation is because first, it violates the constitution of God. Each of us bear his image. Second, it contradicts the constitution of America founded upon the Judeo-Christian worldview that “all men are created equal … by their Creator.”
4. From many, one – In 2016, our neighborhood of Jackson Heights was named by Time Magazine as “the one city block that holds the world.” Our public square is even named “Diversity Plaza.” It’s a safe place where distinct and often opposing beliefs from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Tibet among others are welcomed, shared, and discussed.
None of us would be able to do that freely back home. Each voice matters. You have the freedom to believe or disbelieve. Sadly, the ones who often argue over the particulars of our broken system are often critics born and raised here.
There is an Eastern saying that goes, “One only appreciates the water of his well after he drinks from another.” As an immigrant who lived the first 20 years of my life mostly in remote villages in South Asia and now 18 years in NYC, the possibilities that anyone with determination and discipline can achieve in America is remarkable.
There’s more about being in America and being an American to be grateful for. However, this should not make us proud. Instead, it should humble us and make us ponder our inability to conquer injustices, diseases, and brokenness caused by human depravity.
Yet, the motto of America holds the answer and the remedy to our present crises: “In God we trust.” Yes, we all know that it is printed on every dollar bill, but when was the last time we looked at it?
That’s how we often relate to God. We expect him to fill our wallets and purses, but we don’t take the time to look to him. God made a way to reconcile us to himself and one another. Out of his great love, he sent his only begotten Son. Jesus Christ completely trusted his Father and laid down his life to rescue, redeem, and reconcile us. When we look to him, we become like him. We lay down our lives and love our neighbors as we love ourselves and as God loves them.
As a Christian, I’m grateful for my adopted country, but as I see the current state of affairs, I’m reminded that this world is not my home. The American dream is meaningless.
The grim reality is there are arguably more weary, depressed, and fearful Americans this year than anytime we can recall. There is only One who overcame every temptation, injustice, evil, and even death. He is also the One who promised, “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” We need to come to Jesus Christ. St. Augustine rightly discerned “Thou hath made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Thee.”
Here’s the bottom line: I still love America because it makes me long for a better country and a final home whose Maker and Architect can only be God alone. Until then, I am called to be a good citizen of that eternal City of God and faithfully witness his Word and will to this present, albeit, impermanent city of man.
*If you missed Part One of “Why I Still Love America: Reflections of an Immigrant,” you can find it by clicking here.