I read a short article by Cecil May that began with, “I stand for the flag; I kneel for the cross.” I thought the phrase was quite poignant and expressed, in a capsulated form, some of the division that exists in our country, right now. All of us are painfully aware of the general disdain some have for our country and their intention to express those feelings by kneeling in protest to the American flag and the national anthem. Brother May goes on to add, “Those who disrespect the flag ironically disrespect the very symbol of the liberty to do what they are doing. Let them try that, for example, in Russia or China.”

Jesus, Paul, and Peter taught that a good Christian is also a good citizen. Jesus taught us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” (Mt. 22:21) Speaking of the government, Paul taught, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Rom. 13:1,2) Peter wrote, “Honour the king.” (1 Pet. 2:17)

As a Christian, I may not agree with every law, policy, or the enforcement of a government dictate. I may even exercise my right to disagree and seek a change in things. But, to the best of my ability, I have the responsibility to seek God’s aid for those who are in authority and to obey the laws of the land that are consistent with the will of God. (1 Tim. 2:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:13-15)

I will stand for the flag of my country, but I will kneel for the cross. The flag represents the freedoms we enjoy. The cross represents the freedoms I have in Jesus Christ. The freedoms in Jesus are far greater than the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. In Jesus, I have freedom from sin (Rom. 8:1), freedom from ignorance (Jn. 8:32), freedom to come to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16), freedom from the Old Law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2) and freedom to give up my rights for the benefit of others if it means the salvation of their soul (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Yes, I will kneel for the cross! And, not out of protest, but in recognition of what was done for me. I may not understand God’s will in every particular, but I can know that God is for me and will help me through every trial or difficulty that will come my way. As a Christian, I can do nothing else!

Before God, we can insist on our rights as American citizens to serve Him and make Him the priority of our lives. No legislative body, no court, not even the President, himself, can take that right away from us. It is not man-made; it has been declared in Heaven with the promise of a reward to those who are faithful unto death. (Rev. 2:10) I will stand for the flag in support of my country, but I will kneel before the cross!


Gary Knuckles is minister of the Briensburg Church of Christ in Briensburg, KY.