A strong and healthy family is the first and basic
unit of society and of the state. The strongest and most well organized state
will come to a condition of decline and disintegration if its family unit falls
apart and there are no bases of family life and upbringing. If, on the other
hand, the family unit is strong and the upbringing is healthy, then in the
event of a major external destruction of the forms of state life, the people
remain capable of carrying on life and can re-establish the strength and unity
of the state.
A Christian family must not lock itself up within
itself or turn itself into a "chicken coop." Such a life is family
egoism. A person who lives in it has no interests outside his own family, does
not want to know of the joys and sorrows of the surrounding world and doe's not
serve it in any way. Such a life is not a Christian life, and such a family is
not a Christian family. A Christian family, as a cell or unit of society, is a
part of it which is inseparably united with its whole. It actively participates
in the society's life and serves its neighbors.
According to the clear teaching of the Gospel
moreover, the living relationship of the Christian must not be locked up within
the framework of the national state. Christian love is pan-human. For a
Christian, each person, no matter to what nation he may belong, is his neighbor
whom he must love according to the commandment of the Savior. We are clearly
told this by the parable of the merciful Samaritan, and especially by its
categorical conclusion. In this parable, the Savior showed the Pharisee the
degree of mercy and love which the good Samaritan
bestowed upon the robbed and wounded Jew - a man from a nation inimical to his
own. Further He told the Pharisee, "Go and do likewise! Such is the law
of Christian love."
But if we Christians are called to such an
all-embracing love, then are we not compelled to accept cosmopolitanism - that
teaching of the brotherhood of all people, according to which man is a
"citizen of the universe," and not of his own state? According to
this teaching, mankind must become one family, without any state-national
differences and divisions.
We do not doubt that the positive part of
cosmopolitanism's teaching approaches close to Christianity. It undoubtedly
took its appeals for brotherhood, love and mutual help directly from
Christianity. These appeals are purely Christian. It is, however, only these
Christian ideas which are of value in cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanism has,
however, added much distorted falsehood and error to this element of truth.
Because of this, its teaching has become narrowly one-sided and artificial, and
thus not vital. Such errors include all the tenets of cosmopolitanism which
speak against feelings of patriotism and the duty of service to the native
land, its good estate and safety.
One can, in fact, observe that the lives of the
verbose preachers of cosmopolitanism are dry and incapable of sincere,
compassionate relationships. With foam at the mouth they cry about their love
for mankind, but cannot love their neighbor as is necessary. Christianity does
not teach this false, one-sided cosmopolitanism. Christ commanded us to have,
not an artificial "love for mankind," but real love for neighbor. For
a Christian, such a neighbor is every person in general (therefore, a Christian
must love everyone), and in particular, each person with whom he meets in daily
life. Christian life is manifested most of all precisely in these personal
encounters, in living mutual intercourse, mutual support and compassion. How
distant from this is the one-sided teaching, of cosmopolitanism with its
appeals for an artificial "love for mankind;" a love which is removed
from the realities of life.
As a child, a person's neighbors,
are his parents, brothers, sisters, and other relatives. At this time, it is
sufficient if one is a good, loving, responsive and dedicated member of the
family. The child does not yet have vital relationships with those outside the
family. Gradually growing up through childhood and adolescent years, one
develops personal, vital relationships with many other people and they become
"one's own." Good upbringing must teach the child to treat these new
"neighbors" in a Christian manner - to be friendly, of good will, to
have a sincere readiness to help, and to render as much service as possible. As
a person matures, his horizons expand and every human being becomes one's
"neighbor," no matter to what nation or race they may belong.
Naturally, one will love one's own family and the
relatives he grew up with, most of all, and secondly, the whole country, the people to which one belongs. One is tied to this people both
by state and civil obligations and by culture and customs. One is bound to
one's people, to one's own homeland, and one loves them. This love for homeland
is that Christian patriotism which cosmopolitanists so strongly struggle
Christian patriotism is, of course, alien to those
extremes and errors into which "super-patriots" fall. A Christian
patriot, while loving his nation, does not dose his eyes to its inadequacies,
but soberly looks at its properties and characteristics. He will never agree
with those "patriots" who are inclined to elevate and justify
everything native (even national vices and inadequacies). Such
"patriots" do not realize that this is not patriotism at all, but
puffed-up national pride - that very sin against which Christianity struggles
so strongly. No, a true patriot does not dose his eyes to the sins and ills of
his people; he sees them, grieves over them, struggles with them and repents
before God and other peoples for himself and his nation. In addition, Christian
patriotism is completely alien to hatred of other peoples. If I love my own
people, then surely I must also love the Chinese, the Turks or any other
people. Not to love them would be non-Christian. No, God grant them well-being
and every just success.
The most important information which we find on
patriotism is in the Holy Scripture. In the Old Testament, all the history of
the Jewish people is filled with testimony of how the Jews loved their Zion, their Jerusalem, their temple. This was a model
of true patriotism, of love for one's people and its sacred things ... The
prophet Moses showed an especially striking example of love for his people. On
one occasion, immediately after the concluding of the testament of God, the
Israelite people betrayed their God and worshipped a golden calf. Then, the
justice of God's Truth was strongly inflamed. Moses began to pray for his
people which had sinned. He remained on the mountain for forty days and forty
nights in prayer. The Lord told him, "Depart from Me,
do not hinder Me, that My justice be kindled on them and destroy them."
The great prophet began to pray even more
fervently and finally exclaimed, "Forgive them their sin, and if You will not, then erase me also from Your book of
life." And the Lord harkened to Moses. Is this not the highest
struggle of self-denying patriotism?
We see a similar example in the New Testament in
the life of the great Apostle Paul. No one hindered his work of preaching more
wrathfully and stubbornly than did his fellow countrymen. They hated Paul and
considered him to be a betrayer of the faith of their fathers. Nevertheless,
the Apostle says, "I would be cut off from Christ for the sake of my
brethren ... the Israelites." From these words, we see his love for
his native people. This love was so great that, like Moses, he was prepared to
sacrifice even his personal, eternal salvation for the salvation of his people.
We have an example in the life of the Savior
Himself. In the Gospel we read that He came only to His own people and spoke to
them first of all. On another occasion, He said, turning to Jerusalem, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which kills the prophets and stones them that are sent
unto you; how often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen
gathers her brood under her wings."(Lk.
13:34-35). When He rode into Jerusalem to the cries of "Hosanna," when all the people
rejoiced, the Savior wept. He did not weep for Himself, but for this, His city,
and about the ruin of those who were now crying to Him, "Hosanna!"
but in a few days would cry, "Crucify Him!" Thus did He love
His own people with a profound and moving love.
The feeling of patriotism, therefore, is not
rejected and condemned by Christianity. It does not condemn, despite the false
views of cosmopolitanists, the righteousness of the pre-eminent love for one's
neighbors. We already know the words of the Apostle, "If anyone does
not care for his own, and especially for his own household, he has renounced
faith and is worse than an unbeliever... "
Once more we emphasize that such love and care
must not be egoistic, self-enclosing love. While caring for those with whom one
comes into a direct contact, a Christian must never forget other people in his
Christian love - his neighbors, and brothers in Christ. In conclusion, let us
cite these words of Apostle Paul (from the Epistle to the Galatians): "So,
as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone,
and especially to those of the household of faith."
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