Entitled: to bestow on someone rank or title
Today we don’t care much for titles. We wish to remove them in the name of equality. We still have, of course, some remnants from our former archaic system. Words like landlords hint to a time of lords and ladies. Now we don’t want any form or structure. Authority and hierarchy have become four letter words; some may even spell them that way. We hear about the structure of societies past and we gawk at their elitism and pat ourselves on the back for evolving into a more civilized one.
Titles for the poor, titles for the poor…
We haven’t, of course, done away with entitlements. We have just given titles out more freely. In an attempt to put everyone on the top we have entitled our whole generation. We wish to make everyone a Queen or King and give them no subject to rule. It can feel like we are willing to pull down any natural king or leader for this cause, but really we just wish everyone to rule together.
Gifts and Donations Required
This Christmas I have seen a lot of entitlement. People outraged when they don’t received a gift on par with what they received last year because, “They deserve it!” In doing so forgetting the very definition of a gift. Gifts have nothing to do with what you deserve. They are given free from the need of being earned. We are confusing the word gift with wage, which you earn by the sweat on your brow.
It is only human
I am not above this myself. I can slip into entitlement as easily as the next person. It is only natural. I recently heard a person gave everyone around him a gift. Some he gave a greater gift and some a lesser. The people who received the lesser gift were furious they didn’t receive the greater one, because… “they deserve it.”
None of us deserve what we are given. The very nature of the word demands that. Should we become angry at someone because they did something even nicer for someone else?
The Evolution of Entitlement
In the 1960’s there was a revolution. People hated the way their parents did things (nothing new) and decided to rebel against the system. Powered by reality altering drugs they called for change in the name of love. While much of their motivation I agree with, their understanding of love was very limited. After a time the movement died down. On the surface it seemed like their revolution was over, but the effects of this revolution were just beginning.
Seeking to tear down rules and hierarchy, putting any man above another, they had to tear down discipline. In the name of “do what makes you feel good” free love, they raised thei…(no let me rephrase that) they refused to raise their children. My generation is truly the guinea pig generation. We are the great failed experiment of what will happen to a generation taught not just to rebel against rules, but rather raised in a society without them.
Heart in the left place
I understand why they did it, I really do. Scripture states kings will take advantage of you, they will lord over you and they will do you wrong. In addition, I believe as a Christian I am not called to make sure life is fair and those who work hard get their rewards, but to be charitable, to help those who are poor and hurting. I sometimes call myself a bleeding heart conservative because my heart is for those who are down trodden.
The logic behind the hippie revolution seems straight forward. Those in power are corrupt, and they are ruining our country (and planet). If we take down the people in power, more corruption will rise up and take its place; let’s instead take down the power structure itself. After all, we believe all men are created equal, and should stay that way. The problem is, God gave us an order for a reason. As children we need fathers to correct us, as people we do need leaders to guide us, and wise men to teach us.
The Rich can be entitled too.
Politically, we think of entitlements for the poor. We connect being entitled with receiving welfare or food stamps. The truth is the rich are typically more entitled than any person on welfare. When we step back and realize everything we have is a gift from God it follows that we were all given a gift of our position. The rich have much to be grateful for, but instead they convince themselves they deserve it, even when they haven’t earned it.
The Need for Authority
The Scriptures do not deny there are natural first and lasts, leaders and servants. It instead challenges our perspective of them. It says that if you are a leader, if you have been given the gift of having a high level of authority, then your job is to make yourself low and lift others up. It says also, though this is often forgotten, if you are low your job is NOT to make yourself high. It is to serve even ill-treated in that low position with humility, love, and respect.
Unsurprisingly, we can’t imagine a sacrificial king who lays down his life for others. We don’t understand earning a title and giving it to others. This Christmas there were presents under the tree, and in your life God has given you gifts. Are you going to treat them as a title you have earned or acknowledge them as free gifts that are given? Are you going to use them for yourself or to love and care for others? After all, God does wish to entitle us — He wants to give us the title of son or daughter of the King, a title we can never deserve but following Jesus’ selfless example we can fulfill.