There is a word in the English language that I despise, that I loathe. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. It is rarely used and it is not a four-letter word, although I’m sure I could make a valid argument for the latter.
It is a word that has caused grown men and women to cry. It is a word that has turned perfectly adorable children into beasts that you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.
I bet I have your curiosity peaked. The word is entitlement.
I hate it. Yep, I used the “h” word. I’ll say it again, I hate it.
Exactly what does entitlement mean? Good question. I have an answer.
Entitlement: The state or condition of being entitled. A right to benefits specified especially by law or contract. A government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also: funds supported or distributed by such a program. A belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.
Did you read that last part of the definition? A belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.
This belief does not even require a qualifier. Nothing. Nada. I should have it just because I deserve it.
Now where I have seen that belief before? Oh yeah, a two year old in the grocery store line wanting the candy that is eye level and just with in their reach. Or how about the kid who is handed anything and everything just to shut him up or to assuage the parents’ guilt over being gone so much? The teenager who doesn’t want to work for anything because they never had to at home? The yuppie who just graduated from college and finally has to face the real world where not everyone wins? How about the guy who can work but learned how to get around the system and collects welfare? Or the one who used to make so much money he wants the unemployment benefits to last forever because he “used” to make a much better wage.
This is entitlement. It is everywhere. I don’t like it.
One day I was discussing our financial situation with my husband and I said something that sucker punched me.
Here is what I said: “I’m 45 years old. This is not where I should be.”
Let me explain. Just over four years ago, my husband lost his good paying job. Despite doing everything possible, working any job he could find and sometimes two and three jobs at a time, our standard of living steadily decreased. We found ourselves in a situation that was often times dismal, and depressing.
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, reality set it. I felt entitled. Who made those rules? Who decided at a certain age we should have the house with the mortgage and a new car parked in the driveway? That our hair should be perfectly cut and our nails manicured? Who made these rules and why did I feel entitled to have them?
It dawned on me that society had made those rules and I willingly played along. God wasn’t the one who came up with that idea. In fact, he promises me in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I look back at Job. He was a righteous man. In fact, Job 1 verse 1 tells us this “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” He still faced calamity. His kids were grown. They had lives of their own. He lost everything. He lost possessions, health, family and friends. He lost his ability to provide when he became too sick to do anything but sit. He lost the respect of his wife. He lost it all. What did he have left?
Am I all the sudden thinking entitlement is a good thing? Absolutely not! Who am I to think I deserve anything? If God allows calamity to occur in my life, then who am I to question it?
Psalm 34:1 I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
At all times I am to bless him and praise his name. All times means even in the bad times, when things are good, I will praise Him!
Lord, I praise you and give you all the glory for what you have done, and for what you are about to do. I will praise you all my days, whether on this earth or in heavenly places. I trust you. I place my hope in you. No matter what I go through on this earth, whether in little or in much, I will praise your Holy Name.
Many times we see the obvious issues all around us and are ignoring the same issues in our own hearts. Examine your heart today. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those hidden things that we need to change so we might become more like Him.