Disclaimer: Almost by definition, “my humble two bits” will not explain away everything or fix it. This is not intended to be a comprehensive introspection nor a complete remedy.
It’s my assessment that Ukraine is suffering from pride – not the least American pride. The war unfolding on the world stage today is the cost of pride, plain and simple. Every death and tragedy we witness (or experience) as part of this war or as a result of it will be directly linked to arrogant, unchecked, ugly pride.
I am getting to be “an old guy” now, and I have been around some. I’ve seen things. I don’t know it all, but I certainly know the stone the builders reject, and so I have a worthwhile perspective which sooner or later needs to be taken seriously. If I can hone it down to a humble two bits, I will do my best to make it simple enough to consider.
One of the headlines on my newsfeed this morning comes from Fox News, an interview between Tucker Carlson and Col. Doug MacGregor stating, “There’s nothing US can do about Russia invading Ukraine.” Wow! “Nothing.” That’s the message on Fox News from our military leaders.
Let that sink in.
Actually, I listened to the interview, and the actual quote from the Colonel was, “There’s not a damn thing we can do about it.”
“Nothing.” “Not a damn thing.”
The greatest military in the world is telling the greatest nation in history on the channel that wants to Make American Great Again that there is nothing, not a damn thing, we can do about Russia invading Ukraine.
That is a lot of pride there just throwing in the towel.
Here’s what I think: I think American pride has been in competition with Russian pride for a very long time – since WWII at least. I was watching when Ronald Reagan prophetically called on Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” That was truly a proud moment for American pride made complete when just a few years later, that wall came down in a cloud of high drama and the Soviet Union crumbled.
Many of us who lived through the Cold War are still alive today and remember very well the way that animosity shaped life at home and around the world. The Russians were as proud as the Americans, but then suffered terrible shame in the end.
But it wasn’t the end.
I recall a certain public shaming of Donald Trump by Barak Obama at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner a few years ago. That public shaming of such a proud man came back to bite in 2016 with a vengeance! The world has not been the same since!
Well, it’s quite easy, especially as an American, to ignore Russia on a day-in/day-out basis, but Vladimir Putin rose from the rubble of the Soviet Union to lead Russia, and he certainly has felt the sting of that day when the wall came down. He felt it every day since then. America shamed his country, his proud country, and then practically ignored him. It happened on his watch. But he slowly put the pieces back together and is now pushing his imperial boundaries again as he rebuilds his nation’s pride.
When I was a kid, most young people today have no sense of this, but we called the communists “godless.” There was good reason for that, of course, but we thereby counted ourselves as God’s chosen people, but we did not humble ourselves doing that. Not one bit.
If we had spent the last 30 years humbling ourselves and served Russia in Christian humility, our proud leaders would not be telling us today there is “not a damn thing we can do” or that there is “nothing” we can do today.
There is something we can do about it, but you can’t see it through your pride.
Let me suggest Americans humble ourselves today, kneel down before Jesus, and pray for our enemies. We serve a mighty God of love who loves Russians, Ukrainians, and Americans and wants us to treat one another as loving brothers in a single family. That will not happen as long as we remain too proud to kneel.
That’s my humble two bits.