Entitlement: The fact of having a right to something
While the definition os the word includes “having a right to something” the majority of things people are entitled to have been given to them or organized in a way where they benefit due to pre-planned decisions.
- If your job description has a bonus plan then you are entitled to extra money if you hit your goals
- If your grandmother names you in her will then you are entitled to receive what she has pre-determined to become yours
- If you are born in America you are entitled to the freedom our country affords you
Entitlement in disguise
So many people, including myself, believe we are entitled to things we really are not. Here are some examples:
- Clean water
- A home
- A break today
These things are not rights. However, they are privileges that you can easily obtain with very little effort.
Our country has laid so much pipe down that getting clean water has become normal.
A home does not mean a house – you can make an apartment that you can afford into a home.
You deserve a break today when your State dictates a break policy for those with hourly wages or you meet your obligations (work, bills, goals).
The Entitlement Donut
Our daughter has become accustomed to getting a donut a Church. When I ask her how Sunday School was she usually tells me if she got a donut or not.
When she doesn’t get a donut then she feels as if she was “jilted”. Since when did a donut become a part of Sunday worship? I don’t remember there a glazed bearclaw being part of communion or any part of a religious ceremony, do you?
Should I address this problem with our Pastor? Do we switch churches so she can be fed a sugary pastry and not worry so much about having her fed spiritually?
No! This is a bonus that was provided by the Sunday School teacher, probably out of his own pocket, as a benefit for showing up. It is likely that it is used to get kids to arrive early – before all the donuts are gone.
How to tell if you are entitled
Ask these question to see if they are entitlements with justifiable rights:
- Is there a statute in place that qualifies you to receive the honor
- Did you complete a task or challenge for the non-tangible compensation
- Has the government written a law that gives you the right to the benefit
Ways to beat an entitlement mindset
I have found myself to believe I have a right to something that I did not earn or qualify for. Here are some things I have done to conquer my entitlement mindset:
- Think back to a time when I was less privileged
- Compare my life to those in under-developed countries
- Remind myself that I am blessed with what I have
- Continue to be a giver, even when I don’t feel like it
- Celebrate the victories and claim the prizes that I worked hard to earn
- Treat others like I want to be treated
Just because I show up every day does not give me the right to paycheck or reward or even a kiss from my wife. I may have paid my dues but the “privileges” stop when my efforts do.
What the Bible says about entitlements
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures – James 4: 1-3
Entitlement is a four-letter word. When we think that we deserve something then we are closing our hearts to the real blessing of life. When we expect to be treated better than anyone else then we are acting on selfish desires rather than opening ourselves to relationships and friendships with one another.
Don’t be disappointed if you arrive at church and there are no donuts. Instead, be of a generous spirit and bring a dozen with you to share!