Tuesday, September 9, 2014
“Entitlement” is a fairly new word in my vocabulary. I heard it for the first time perhaps two or three years ago, but now I hear it being used frequently. The word has several meanings but the one I want to focus on today is: “the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something.” (such as special privileges) One piece of advice I bore our church members often with is this: “Live life as if nobody owes you anything.” I even put it up on our church marquee once. When people go around thinking that someone owes them something, it is very likely they will get angry, bitter, and resentful. Even though that in itself would be more than bad enough, anyone who carries these adverse emotions in the heart will manifest them and act upon them sooner or later. They are like the pressure cooker with a closed valve that can explode at any time.
I suspect that the people who struggle the most with the feeling of entitlement are those who believe that God or life has been unusually unfair to them, whether it concerns a financial loss, broken relationships, poor health, or even the death of a loved one. Though they won’t always admit it, they will rebel and lash out doing and involving themselves in things they should not, believing they are rightfully justified in doing so. Here’s a case in point and one you are all familiar with: They will interview a person on TV whose loved one has been murdered or killed by a drunk driver. In many cases, you will hear them say that they will never forgive the one who did it and in some cases hear them vow that they will make it a point to be present when they execute the murderer. Although the majority of these folks know that it is against God’s will not to forgive, they believe that in their case they are fully justified in not giving it.
In my long years in the ministry I have seen, time and time again, members who begin to slack off in their church attendance and are seen in places where they should not be, doing things they should not do. In almost every case, these are those who have gone through a difficult experience in life. Once again, they won’t always admit it, but deep down inside they feel they have the right to do so because of what God, life, or others did to them. They will have the mindset Asaph had momentarily in Psalm 73 when he suggested that he served God and was still struggling, while wicked people around him who did not believe in Him were prospering. He thought that way, until he went into the sanctuary. He had almost given up, and then went to the place where God’s presence was, the temple. If life has handed you a bitter pill don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 tells us: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” And by all means, please don’t think that we, as God’s children, can live as we please, regardless of what we’re going through. We are all accountable to someone.
Memory verse for the week: (John 4:23) “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”