Monday, April 11, 2011

Entitlement - you know that feeling?

If I were to try to define the feeling of entitlement, it would go something like this:
An entitlement is something I feel I have the right to but have no investment in.
I recognize it's not great English, but it's my best shot at it.  I said in yesterday's sermon that not fighting the feeling of entitlement can lead to all sorts of relational problems in the church, in marriages, in parenting, and other relationally intensive environments.

Here's my first for instance:  I feel entitled to my kids behaving.

We had a meltdown at the Mexican restaurant Saturday night.  It was one of those tired, long-day kinds that starts with a misunderstanding and ends with a wall-eyed fit.  I thought I deserved better than that.  I feel like I have the right to eat with my family and two friends (who also happened to pay for dinner) without a relational blow out.

But the problem is I don't.  I don't have the right to that because I don't have any investment in how my child chooses to act.  Let me be clear:  it's not that I don't have investment in my kids, in their training, in their upbringing, or in their physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being.  I do.

But I don't have a say in how my children choose to act at any point.  I can warn them.  I can help them. I can bribe them.  I can discipline them.  But they choose to act.

If I feel entitled in that Mexican restaurant moment, I can't do parenting well.  I can't see the long-term goals.  I can't see the bigger picture.  I can't think clearly about a path forward.  I can't administer discipline nor give grace.  I can't recall how long the day was.  I can't do any of those things that would make me a good (and godly, I hope) parent in that moment if entitlement is something I'm holding onto.

If I lay that down, I just might be able to do any or all of those things with the Spirit's help.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

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