Jan 14, 2010

manufacturing feelings of entitlement

Seth Godin has a great post about the ways we tend to "amplify our complaints" when something or someone has soured our attitude.  We've all done this... it's our way of trying to be sure the other person/company we're mad at (or the people we're gossipping about him/her/them to instead) knows that our complaint is "that much more" important. 

It's like we try to *snap!* *snap!* our words... all to manufacture and validate our perceived sense of entitlement.

Like I said, I've done this... even within the church.  On more than one occasion in years past, I've said insecure things like:
"I've been around here a whole lot longer than you have, so..."
"Look, I know more about that than you do, so..."
"Hey, that's not your area but it is mine, so..."
I bring this up simply because I've been silly in the past, and I didn't realize it at the time.  I think I'm a bit sharper about this in recent years, but even still I may have missed something. So perhaps one of three applications:
  • If I've hurt you in some way in years past, I apologize and need to ask for your forgiveness.  Sincerely, let me know about it... don't just ignore it, because we can't deal with it.  Please talk with me so we can address it.

  • If I'm being silly about something now, feel free to be honest with me.  I promise to be honest with you back, whether that means me saying, "You know what? You're right."  Or it may be, "Thanks for sharing. Can I offer a perspective from my end on this?"

  • If you're being petty or silly or snapping your fingers in ways and directions you shouldn't, can you cease and desist for the sake of the Greater Story?
It's all quite silly, isn't it?

We're entitled to nothing... nothing

Actually, I take that back - because of our rebellion against God, we are entitled to death and an empty, harsh eternity.  Check out what He did, though:
It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. (Ephesians 2:1-6, MSG)
So... God gives us a gift of grace.  It means gaining what we could never deserve or earn on our own.  And He simply asks us to share that gift of grace with one another.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

So... can we  agree to stop trying to manufacture entitlement and instead agree to build a real relationship?  One where I trust your heart and you trust mine, even when we can't stand how the other is being odd in how its pursued. One where we don't have to qualify our feelings but instead simply share our burdens with one another and agree to help each other carry them.

I'm in.

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