According to Acts 17:26, God places each of us on earth at a specific time and place. On this basis alone we should love and care for our respective countries. This is the essence of Patriotism. Nationalism, on the other hand, expresses itself in the motto, "My country right or wrong." This was the mistake most Germans made under Hitler. The real patriots-those who truly loved their country-opposed him.
As blogger Joseph Peter Becker writes, "[God] clearly expects us to be good stewards of the things he has given
us. Being conspicuously concerned for the well-being of my nation is a
good thing. The difference between Patriotism and Nationalism, as I
understand it, lies in how we live out that concern. To the degree that
my nation is walking in the light, I must be her priest, and stand with
her before God. That's Patriotism. But to the degree that my nation
strays from the light, I must be her prophet, and stand aloof from her,
with the Word of God in my mouth. That's not easy, but it's necessary.
Any time [we] stand with her as Priest, when we ought to be challenging her
as a Prophet, we have fallen into Nationalism."