“UGGGGH I HATE YOU!”
Strong words coming out of a 10-year-old, who believes that—despite all his bad decisions—he still deserves a reward. I must admit those words hurt.
I put in the time to teach and prepare for my students.
I spend my own money to provide resources for them.
And my student has the audacity to say “I hate you.”
This unpleasant moment with my student made me realize how much more entitled I often feel. Most days I feel that I deserve all the recognition, I say “What about me?”, I want to make my face known so all the world can see how amazing I am. However, deep down I’m hurting, vulnerable, confused and questioning all life’s plans that God has for me. I know his plans are good and I know his timing is perfect, so why do I act foolishly and irrationally when things don’t turn up the way I want them to?
In order to understand that, I must dig a little deeper.
Entitlement is the belief that we inherently deserve privileges or special treatments, or that we have the right to something. Entitlement shows no partiality; it will reach for life’s greatest gifts and claim its smallest pleasures.
When it comes to the big parts of life, we can find ourselves thinking along these lines:
- “I deserve to have children, so why am I struggling with infertility? After all, aren’t children a blessing from God?”
- “I’m tired of being single. I’ve remained pure and sought Christ, so why hasn’t he brought a spouse into my life?”
- “I’m such a hard worker. I don’t understand why I still can’t manage to find a high-paying job.”
But entitlement can also touch smaller issues:
- “I’m a good homemaker and work hard to keep the house clean and tidy. I deserve a nicer, bigger home.”
- “I work so hard to provide for my family. I deserve to watch TV when I come home.”
- “I’ve been good with my finances. I deserve to buy what I want for a change.”
One thing for sure is that entitlement will keep us from knowing Christ intimately.
A beautiful picture is Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. | Psalm 23
David proclaims that the Lord is HIS Shepherd. How was he able to say this? Because he intimately knew the Lord. He knew that God promises to always love his children. He knew that God would never leave or forsake him. He knew that God was enough. And because he knew all those things, he was fully able to trust God to take care of him—even in “the valley of the shadow of death.”
Even though my student acted the way he did, it felt like a mirrored reflection of my soul. I felt like I was looking at myself. I was the one kicking and screaming because my way didn’t reign. I was living an entitled lifestyle.
As Christians, we should not only trust God when we don’t get what we want; we should also follow the example of our Savior and choose to give up what we think we deserve. The reward might not be immediate, but we’ll become more like Christ, and that is always worth it. Humility and the willingness to give up our rights are not prized in this world, but they are stunningly beautiful to Christ.
My prayer is that we trade our entitlement for a restful spirit in Christ. That with all humility we take our entitled hearts to the throne of grace and surrender them to our loving Father.