“Entitlement” is the idea that we have a right to something – that we are owed. This is legitimate if we have paid for something, but as an attitude toward life it robs our souls.
Our kids express an attitude of entitlement to the sorts of things people worked hard for a few decades ago, or gave up their lives fighting for in wars. There is an increasing sense of entitlement to freedom, wealth, opportunities, and even to happiness. In the past it was understood that your life is what you make of it. Today we feel entitled to be happy if we live in Australia and pay taxes, or if there is a God. And if we are not happy we might turn against the current politicians and question God.
A sense of entitlement can rob us of gratitude, which is a big part of feeling happy. We see it in our kids and ourselves when we are never satisfied. Past generations had the satisfaction of working hard for things they valued, and today we certainly work hard, but don’t feel this same sense of achievement because we feel entitled.
The real trap is that when we feel entitled and cannot recognise everything we have as a gift, we feel that we have received nothing or that life and God is unfair.
The truth is that everything – even being alive today or the enjoyment of a good meal - is a precious gift and God doesn’t owe us anything! Have you considered why you live in Glenmore Park when other good people struggle in slums in Asia? It’s not our entitlement…it’s a gift, and realising it blesses our soul with a sense that life is good and so is God.
Christmas celebrates what God has given us in his Son Jesus to save and help us – not an entitlement but a gift that is received by choosing to give him our allegiance.