I have to wonder how many Germans during WWII actually had this conundrum. I would imagine quite a few. In the modern era Germans seem to be decent people, and their current prohibition of anything Nazi shows their repentance to an extreme.
The current American situation, fighting an ambiguous war against “Terror” in which we can point to no nation as our enemy while engaging religious fanatics on their own soil, makes me wonder: Are we the baddies? Our enemies, a contingent of followers of the Islamic religion (I am told they hold a minority opinion within that faith) have declared a holy war against us. They call America the “Great Satan”, yet in our modern, secular, and borderline atheist culture, we cannot rally around God to renounce the claim, for far too many amongst our population have never known Him.
In the scheme of Divine Providence, is America just the latest iteration of Babylon or Assyria, a great power being utilized to accomplish the Lord’s works against the unjust, only to find itself destroyed when it has fulfilled His objective? Are we so consumed in our idolatrous worship of science, celebrity, and self that we cannot see this? I only pray that just as God spared a remnant of the kingdom of Judah, who then turned back to Him, He will spare a remnant of America as well when the day of His judgement comes upon us. We are not a covenant nation, as Israel of old was; our only hope is in the covenant God made to all through the blood of the Christ.
In the light of this it is imperative to realize that whether Americans are the baddies or not is irrelevant, each has a personal accountability for his own actions, and while punishment in this life often rains down on the just and the unjust alike, each will account for his own actions in the life to come. No matter what national allegiance one holds on earth, those of us who desire citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven must remember this teaching:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40, ESV)
Do we love our neighbors as ourselves? In many ways, I would contend, that America, in general, does. Even when we “invade” a country, we make great efforts to improve their infrastructure, assist their needy, and practice a form of benevolence. Is it out of our selfish, national desires? Maybe so. However, for the soldier in that foreign land sharing the candies he received in his latest care package with the children he meets on the street, I would argue that he is loving his neighbor as himself.
We are told:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him,then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these,you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46, ESV)