Many different things in our society seem to have a common thread: Entitlement. This is a far cry from mere rights or exercising one’s rights. It even moves beyond can vs should into the realm of demand. Entitlement is the superhero of selfishness. It ejects logic and common sense and only seeks it own, to the detriment of others. Entitlement begs this question: Have we become a society of overgrown preschoolers?
Entitlement in politics. Solution: Attack the problem not people.
In recent months I’ve seen people destroyed for merely defending a political figure… by the same people who believe bullying is bad and that people should be accepted for who they are. We see this happening on a larger scale in the news as well. The glaring hypocrisy is baffling as people cry out for our ability to get along, or the dismal culture of our politics. Here’s a solution, stop attacking people and start focusing on the issues. Move beyond platitudes of political viewpoints into the depth of actual issues. Freedom of speech doesn’t equate to slander, libel, etc. We also have the right to remain silent, to listen, and to understand before being understood. This happens when we focus on attacking the problem and not the person.
Entitlement in public service. Solution: Just say thanks.
In recent months I’ve seen public servants taken advantage of, and I’ve seen public servants act as tyrants. Public servants are part of our community. They’re our neighbors. Public servants are not our slaves or our employees. While they work for our benefit, there is a tone of humility and appreciation we should have towards them. We should view them as partners. Be appreciative while dealing with your frustrations. At the same time, public servants are not kings. Power tripping or demanding homage misses the glory of public service, which is to humbly serve your community. While it is ashamed some are taken for granted, sometimes not being noticed means a job well done. Gratefulness goes a long way.
Entitlement in the marketplace. Solution: Be civilized, we’re not barbarians.
Black Friday news demonstrates this point well. Too often we forget where we came from. A BIG thing we can learn from other cultures is the need to SLOW DOWN AND RELAX! We all get that your time is important, but will the person who never made a mistake please raise their hand? If we want to be listened to and served well, do not others in the room deserve that same treatment? Too often we see people flipping out, going overboard, and generally getting sue happy. The key to being civilized is truly treating others the way you want to be treated. This includes how you want to be treated when you make a mistake or are overwhelmed.
Entitlement in the culture. Solution: Remember its not about you.
It’s not about you. You are not the center of the universe. You have a right to speak, but you also have a right to listen. Your have a right to pursue happiness, you also have the right to work hard when things don’t go your way. You have a right to be served, but also a right to be patient. You have a right to be cared for, but also a right to sacrifice. You have a right to be thanked, but also the right to be grateful for the ability to bless others. While you should take care of yourself, others have the right that you do the same towards them. Living in a civilized community only works if you realize its not about you.
The bottom line:
Entitlement is one of the worst prisons to be in. It is a cancer so malignant that it breeds chaos, injustice, abuse, and hate. At the end of the day entitlement forms you into a lonely tyrant lacking any joy or peace. Perhaps it shouldn’t be culture we are frustrated with, but rather the person we see in the mirror each morning. Jesus gives a way out of this mess. While he rightfully was entitled to all, he gave that up. Love, humility, and servanthood will get more done then entitlement ever will. If Jesus demanded entitlement, we’d all be in Hell. Perhaps true freedom isn’t in demanding our rights, but instead giving up our rights is the service of others.