Culture

What does it mean to love my country?

Lee Song Yang // August 8, 2019, 4:01 pm

How will I love my country edit

National Day is a good time to remember God’s goodness, whose hand has enabled Singapore to prosper.

We’re the envy of many cities and nations. This time of reflection is especially relevant given that this year marks 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles first landed in Singapore. In that time we have evolved from a fishing village into a booming metropolis, and it’s only right that we praise God and give Him all the glory.

As we look back at how the Lord has brought Singapore through mountaintops and valleys, it’s also important that we look at the present and future so as to love our nation and society on a deeper level.

History has always fascinated me. It’s more than stories and statistics: it’s also about learning from our mistakes and finding trends. 

When I learnt about history in Secondary School, our success was taught to be the result of factors such as strong leadership, foresight and geography. I only realised later that all these came from God, who has been steadily leading us through prosperity and challenges alike.

Every blessing – and trial – comes from our Heavenly Father. They are testament to His love for our land, and each and everyone of us – whether born or brought into Singapore.

But beyond just remembering how God has blessed our nation, we must also consider His commandments on love: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39 ESV).

We have a commitment to love one another in this land in accordance to God’s commands. What might that mean?

Breaking down the walls between “us” and “them”

Well, perhaps we might start by making a visit to our neighbour next door.

We may just realise then, that poverty and inequality still persists. We only have to flip the newspapers to recognise we have to care for our ageing population. Likewise a walk down Geylang is all it takes to realise there are many unreached people groups right here at home.

One way of loving your neighbour as yourself can be reaching out to people like these who need the compassion few are willing to show. In Jesus’ times, these were people who were lepers (Luke 17:11-19), adulterers (John 8:1-11) and foreigners (John 4:4-26). 

What about our time and country? Who are we supposed to love? I’ve had the privilege of befriending a migrant worker through my vocation in National Service (NS). Having exchanged numbers, we kept in contact, and I had the opportunity to introduce him to my friend, with whom we celebrated Christmas and ate lunch together.

‘We want to be their family while they’re in Singapore’: Migrant Worker Ministry

We don’t have to leave Singapore (perhaps even our houses) to realise that there are many people who need support and awareness – who need the gospel.

We love our nation by loving the people in it, whether they’re strangers or family. When we do that, we are glorifying and loving our Father too, because we are loving His creation. We love because He first loved us.

At present there is great work to be done in reaching a world that needs Christ, but the abundant harvest has few labourers (Matthew 9:37). There are many out there who need to know and experience God’s love and hope, and we are Christ’s ambassadors for such a time as this.

So it’s not enough to just look back and look around us. We should also look ahead to the problems our country may encounter down the road. We’re blessed us with good governance, but is that making us too comfortable?

The social injustices that dominate the headlines today give us a good idea of what may come – they are not talked about enough. Issues like climate change directly threaten our society, but we aren’t engaged enough about it.

Personally, I use my Instagram Stories as a means for social justice. It may not seem like much, but we can all do our part by raising awareness of injustices happening around the world and right here at home. But beyond just raising awareness, we should also serve as God’s hands and feet in our communities.

How can we be a blessing to our nation?

As we do so, let us keep praying and holding fast to our Heavenly Father who is sovereign over everything that happens in this universe. Let us pray for eyes to be opened, for our communities to be transformed as we work to better them for God’s glory.

Most importantly, let our eyes be fixed on eternity as we advance God’s kingdom. There is so much more that needs to be done in this nation’s future. In this time of reflection, let us remember God’s goodness to Singapore and His love for us.

Let us do His work in this city, so He will find us good and faithful servants when He returns.

THINK + TALK

  1. What do you think are the highest and lowest points in Singapore’s history?
  2. Where do you see God’s hand in those moments?
  3. What does loving your neighbour look like here?
  4. Starting from today, how can you be a positive impact in your community?