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Monday, May 16, 2011

Road to Entitlement

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"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."
~ Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

If there is a line to be drawn between justly affirming unalienable rights and selfishly demanding perceived rights, it might be summed up in the phrase entitlement mentality.

Entitlement mentality goes beyond, "I have a right to a comfortable wage, full coverage health care, and paid time off." It might also say:

I am entitled to live free of suffering / inconvenience / annoyance.

I am entitled to the honor of my children / love of my husband / respect of my wife.

I have accepted Jesus and am entitled to God's mercy.

I have obeyed God and have a right to His blessing.

I am entitled to what I want at another's expense.

Saints are not immune to the entitlement mentality which tends to assert itself as sin.

David—the man after God's own heart—saw himself as entitled to both intimacy with another man's wife and a reputation free of adultery. Moses—more humble "than all men"—resisted God's calling more than once, and argued that he shouldn't be burdened with responsibility for the Israelites. Job—"blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil"—nonetheless insisted that God owed him an explanation for his suffering.

These men and others of the Bible had happy endings once they shed their entitlement mentality. Jonah's story ends less happily because he clung to it. What bitter irony that in asserting what more we should have, we're never satisfied with what we've got.

"Amazing grace
(how sweet the sound!)
that saved a wretch like me ..."
~ John Newton

Is there a happier place than to be repulsed by one's sin, comprehend the condemnation sin has earned, and then receive the gift of God Himself and eternal life?

How do we detour from this path of joy and find ourselves on the broad road which both takes salvation for granted and believes we are entitled to something more?

Now godliness with contentment is great gain... And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
~ 1 Timothy 6:6-8 (NKJV)

Powerful testimonies come from Christians who experience extreme suffering, who lack even adequate food and clothing, or who endure horrific persecution—and maintain the joy of their salvation.

Does being utterly destitute of everything except God make Him enough?

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation ...
~ Psalms 51:12 (NKJV)

If compelled to explain why I am entitled to anything more than the lowest caste Indian, who lives in a squatters' village built on a garbage dump, would asserting my U.S. nativity suffice?

If I wish to be restored to the joy of my salvation, perhaps the place to start is by exiting the road to entitlement and getting back on the path of believing I am a wretch who deserves nothing. Walking that road keeps me happily grateful for Him who is my All in All.

"I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant."
~ Genesis 32:10 (NKJV)

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This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: ROAD.

Your comments, questions, and respectful disagreement are most appreciated. Reply to comments, or e-mail buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. What a lovely post with so much truth that we all needed to think about. Thanks Anne

  2. We can fall victim to the entitlement mentality as much as anyone else. And you call it what it is -- sin. As Christians, we're entitled to two things - eternal life, and reaching out and giving to others. Good post, Anne.

  3. You make a good point, Anne. There are many forms of entitlement.

  4. I have to fight against the entitlement mentality every day. God owes me nothing; everything is grace. Great post, Anne.

  5. The entitled to His mercy one got to me. It made me cringe, though I think I live feeling that way sometimes. Convicting.
    ~ Wendy

  6. Living in America this is a constant battle I think...great post!

  7. Odie ~

    This is truth God has impressed upon me. I am first on the list of people I know who need to weed out what I'm forced to admit is more than vestiges of entitlement mentality.

  8. Glynn ~

    How right you are. Didn't Jesus teach that "it is more blessed to give than to receive"?

  9. Helen ~

    Yes, entitlement mentality takes many forms. I cringe to think of all the ways I'm still blind to it in my own life.

  10. Lisa ~

    How quickly we are willing to put God in our debt! It's not comfortable, but truly, I am grateful that He reminds me constantly, "Oh to Grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be."

  11. Wendy ~

    If we take His mercy for granted, how much have we devalued the price He paid to give it? I stand grieviously convicted.

  12. Joyce ~

    I've never been outside the U.S. and Canada. I wonder how much more my perspective might change if I really did have to live in a squatters' village of India.

  13. Amen and AMEN! What piercing words today.. but true.

  14. Thank you, Anne, for writing such an important post. I do believe that the road to entitlement is the root of unhappiness. I so want to exit and keep out of the road to entitlement. God help us! Thank you again, Anne. Be blessed as you bless others!

  15. Karin ~

    Yes, it IS piercing to consider all the ways I am guilty ...

  16. Mari-Anna ~

    More and more, I find that happiness is rooted in gratitude and contentment. "Wealth consists not in the abundance of our possessions, but in the fewness of our wants." ~ Unknown

  17. To what am I truly entitled, Anne? I want to say "nothing," but the truth is I'm entitled to much worse than nothing. I shudder to think what, absent that mercy (to which I'm not entitled) He pours out because of His goodness and grace.

    Good words, Anne. As I would expect.

    Life has caught up with my calendar again. I hope you are well.

  18. None of us are entitled to anything from God, but by God's grace He freely offers Salvation and Life to all who will receive.

    The belief of people that demand their right to be kept by Government is difficult to replace with a new mentality to work and earn because the entitlement mentality is often engrained in the families like a disease and it propagates to the next generation.

    Respect can be earned, but will not come to those who demand it. Those who show love and kindness will be given respect.

    Our Heavenly Father is the giver of all good gifts, and he gives freely to all who ask. The road ahead may at times be paved with loss, want, suffering, but God is still there and he will not forsake his children. His desire is that we worship and adore Him of our own free will, not expecting anything but His love in return. He wants to bless us all, because He is a loving God. No we are not worthy, and only He is worthy!

  19. needed to hear this are so right about "walking the road that keeps me grateful."

  20. Lyla ~

    True enough that we're entitled to worse than nothing. May we never take His promised mercy and grace for granted.

    I think of ♥you♥ often. : )

  21. Hazel Moon ~

    Amen to it all! I keep trying to weed out the entitlement mentality, from me and my kids. It dies harder for some than others.

  22. Jeff ~

    I just got off the phone with a friend visiting her family in Palestine. She tearfully told me how bad conditions are there, particularly for the Arab Christians, who are persecuted by Muslims and tightly restricted by suspicious Israelis. She said food is so expensive and in such short supply that people fight over it. The health of adults suffers because they give food to their children first.

    She said that once she returns to the states, she will never, ever again complain about anything here.


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