When I was younger, I really embraced the image of the Texas flag. I love(d) Texas and all that it has to offer; real beef barbecue with tomato based sauce, football, Blue Bell, the Hill Country, cowboy boots and other things which are prevalent in the Texas culture. I associated with Texas and identified myself as a Texan. The flag was a reflection of who I thought I was and a symbol of affiliation that linked me to an identity more than it was a piece of material that waved from a pole.
As I matured, I gained a greater appreciation of my true identity. I never stopped liking Blue Bell ice cream or traveling to the Hill Country but I didn’t need a bumper sticker or t-shirt to validate my association. I was interested in Texas and it’s flag, but I wasn’t tied to either of them as indicators of my identity. We are designed with much more complexity than a “Don’t Mess With Texas” logo or the most recent performance of an iconic football team.
A flag is a piece of material representing something. That representation shouldn’t go further than it is intended as the affiliation is not eternal. We are created by an eternal creator with eternal purpose. Any national, regional or state level allegiance should take its rightful place in the shadow of that eternal affiliation. As I matured in the realization of the purpose that comes with identity, the flag and labels based on my geography became less important. I had more important qualities in a character which was now maturing.
Flags don’t cause people to hate or kill but if those same people are holding onto that piece of material too tightly, perhaps it is rightful to question why the passion is so personal. When any symbol becomes our identity it’s a reasonable indicator that our identity is in question. People who don’t know who they are don’t know how they should act and that is a reasonable concern for the rest of us.