What Makes a Nation “Great”


For several years, citizens of the United States have heard the political slogan “Make America Great Again” and, more recently, this has morphed into “Keep America Great.” Many believe that the key to achieving this goal is by supporting a political party and the different reforms that it proposes. Others object to these slogans because of their affiliation with the current president and the ideals they say they represent. However, the opposing party has its own plans for improving life in America, some good, others bad. Neither side seems capable of providing the criteria for what makes a nation truly “great” or acknowledging that some of their policy decisions will ultimately lead to its destruction.

Though these “architects of greatness” ignore biblical principles, the Most High, who rules over the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4:17), has been saying the same thing for thousands of years: “Righteousness makes a nation great; sin is a disgrace to any nation” (Proverbs 14:34, Good News Bible).

Who Defines “Greatness”?

The Hebrew word translated “righteousness” is found 167 times in the Old Testament. It describes “right actions, and right attitudes, as expected from … God” (The Complete WordStudy Dictionary). God is unequivocally “righteous” and is the only One who is truly qualified to define the difference between right and wrong. He makes this distinction by means of the word of Christ, as revealed in the New Testament (Romans 1:16-17).

In contrast, many today use their own criteria or that of doctors, scientists, politicians, or the majority to determine whether something is right or wrong. They have effectively taken from God that which is entirely His prerogative!

It All Starts with You and Me

A nation is only as “great” as it is righteous and only as righteous as the individuals who comprise it. I must first allow my own heart to be transformed by the word of God before I can be “righteous” and help make a nation great.

Expecting politicians to bring about a national reformation by means of social and economic policies in the absence of true righteousness is a pipe dream. Without the firm decision of men and women to live with right attitudes and actions based on what God expects and has revealed in His word, America will never be great!

It is this writer’s hope that the virus that is now spreading across the globe will help us to better comprehend our ephemeral nature and seek the true greatness found in the kingdom of God (Mathew 18:1-4).

–Jerry Falk