The reason we’ve lost our unity is because we’ve lost our identity.


A true American.


Who or what is this this? Is it someone who happens to live in the United States and is a citizen by birth or naturalization? Is it someone whose skin is a certain color or belongs to a certain political party or religion?


Or, is it something else?


We know our forefathers first came to America to escape religious persecution in their homeland. The first group was known as “Separatists,” who said “I can’t take it anymore” and fled to the New Land to begin anew. Then, came the “Puritans,” who’d tried to reform or purify the system from within, but realized they were fighting a losing battle.


So, here they came. On rickety, wooden ships. Braving stormy seas and an uncertain future. In a quest to be able to worship as they pleased without fear of reprisal or restriction.


Even though only 41 of the 101 passengers aboard the Mayflower signed the “Mayflower Compact” on November 11, 1620—by which they pledged themselves to “covenant and combine themselves into a civil body politic for the better ordering, preservation and furtherance of the first colony…which included enacting, constituting and framing just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, etc.”—we still must believe that all of them desired “the general good of the colony and promised all due submission and obedience.”


And, that’s where God’s Word came in.


Even though all of them were not equally “religious,” they realized the Judeo-Christian views-and-values contained in His Word were needed in order to have a civil, just society. They knew the first four of the Ten Commandments governed their right relationship with their Creator while the last six governed their right relationship with each other.


Thus, it’s clear—even in a cursory examination of our nation’s original laws—that society was based upon God’s laws. And, when we depart from those, the end-result is always confusion, chaos, division and destruction from within.


Does this mean that everyone must be a Christian to be a true American?


No, not at all; but, it does mean that we still realize the importance of living in dependence upon the One Who created us and with respect for all people. Even though we are different in race, creed and color, true Americans are those who “love liberty more than life,” while realizing liberty is not licentiousness, i.e., “the freedom to do what I please.”


Instead, true liberty is living with love toward everyone we meet. Again, this involves mutual respect. That doesn’t mean I will always agree with you or hold the same values you do. But, it does mean I show you the same respect and dignity I expect to receive from you.


To do this, we must realize there are limits to our liberty. As someone once said, “My freedom ends where your nose begins.” That means I don’t impose my views-and-values on you and operate by the Golden Rule. And, when I overstep those bounds, there are consequences because a just and civil society demands it. That’s why we have laws.


Thus, a true American (to me) is a God-fearing, law-abiding citizen who does what is right because it’s the right thing to do. A true America is hard-working, honest and believes in extending a helping hand instead of looking for a handout. Neither does he/she say “What’s in it for me?;” instead, it’s “What’s best for everyone involved?”


Unless we return to the same “righteous roots” our forefathers had, we’ll continue to see an unraveling of our society from within through moral and spiritual decay. Our unity is intertwined with our identity—and it’s only when we once again see ourselves as “one nation under God” that we’ll see this country turn around. Only then.


NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com.