I deserve this


Category : God, bible, failure, faith, sin


“I deserve this.”

Those are magic words.  Right up there with “this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.”  Each time we say it, we’re betraying the sense of entitlement we all have. 

Often the focus of entitlement is on “American culture” or “American greed”.  But I don’t think that’s the real problem.  Oh sure American’s may have a highly developed sense of entitlement, but all humans believe they are entitled.

After all, didn’t Adam and Eve feel entitled to the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  Didn’t Jacob feel entitled to Esau’s inheritance?  Didn’t David feel entitled to more than one wife?  Didn’t James and John feel entitled to a special place at Jesus’ side?

History is filled with a sense of entitlement.

And so are we.  It’s part of human nature.  For instance, if you find out your co-worker makes more money than you, but does less work, how does that make you feel?  Don’t you immediately think you deserve more money?  More respect?  More vacation time?  And they deserve more work?

Psychologists have a theory of motivation to explain that behavior, they call it ”Equity Theory.” 

But the world is neither fair nor equal.  And on top of that, God never promised us a life of fairness or equality.  He doesn’t even promise us comfort.  He just promises us life and freedom. 

I’m not immune of course.  And a sense of entitlement fills me more than I’d like to admit.  Even as I type this I feel that I am entitled to finding a job (as many of you know, I’m currently out of work).  But I don’t want to find a job through hard work, suffering, and faith.  Instead I want this job to fall into my lap, offering a pay raise, shorter hours, and an easier commute.

So why should you care about any of this?

Because entitlement is dangerous.  It blinds us to our own greed and selfishness.  Often we can’t even recognize that what we’re doing is wrong.  Consider the person who steals a tie because he thinks he’s owed by the “establishment.”  Or someone who downloads music off the internet because “it’s not fair to have to pay for it.”

Entitlement surrounds us in sin, but whispers to us “I deserve this.”

The irony in this post is that we’re approaching Christmas.  To many Christmas is a time of rampant entitlement.  We criticize presents because they are “not quite right.”  We complain about relatives and travel arrangements.  We attack store employees because they don’t have what we are owed in stock.  And sometimes we even kill to get a good deal.   

Yet to God, Christmas is a time that contradicts entitlement.  Christmas is when God gave up every right he had, and decided to come to earth for the sole purpose of dying.  Simply to save us. 

So this Christmas, as we start feeling a sense of entitlement, maybe we need to stop and reflect about the actual cost of that feeling.  (Hint: God gave up everything for us.  It cost him his life.)  

What can we give up for him?

Comments (2)

[...] easy to lose sight of that.  It’s easy to develop a sense of entitlement and “I deserve this” attitudes.  Being with family might even make that [...]

[...] easy to lose sight of that.  It’s easy to develop a sense of entitlement and “I deserve this” attitudes.  Being with family might even make that [...]