The final frontier. To arrogantly go where entitlement has not gone before. To smugly explore the outer reaches of that to which I am entitled. To seek out new areas of ownership, to be always of a kind and smiling (public) demeanour, and to do exactly what suits me. Always.
Entitlement will kill the human species. It already is.
It is the reason for climate change … poverty … the wealth gap … the glass ceiling … the Pharisees … the crucifixion … the ranking of first to third world countries … It is the reason for “neighbours from hell”, for the “church smile syndrome”, for road rage and all between –
From a neighbour who “owns” a shared piece of something in the community – to a regime-changing nation who knows what is best … From a God-fearing President still claiming victory – to a God-fearing sinner-saved who does what suits them when it suits them … From the rich to the poor – the advantaged to the disadvantaged – the illiterate to the intellectual – from this culture to that – from wearing a mask to not wearing a mask …
Entitlement is a real growth area.
It feeds the global marketing machine, it feeds consumerism and communism, it feeds ambition and aspiration, and it is the fuel of every anonymous toxic keyboard warrior.
Looking at the walk of Jesus it seems to me entitlement is the reason for his teaching. Perhaps far more the sin we prefer to extract and make our own. A nation entitled through God’s own choice – The Chosen People. A religious system embedded in entitlement through compliance. From the elite to the unwashed The Chosen People made entitlement their own.
And yet look at his walk.
Like a loving hot-knife through blind-eyed butter he touched and talked, raised and healed, reconnecting humanity with compassion, disabling arrogance and self-delusion with kindness and love. And entitlement did for him in the end. Entitlement of those with a kingdom of power and grandeur here on earth as their birthright. All this namby-pamby “love stuff” undermining my right to all of that.
The church teaches sin. The church teaches love. The church teaches entitlement. Just as it did all those thousands of years ago. Seems to me that a sinner-saved holds tightly to the entitlement of sin more than anyone else. Being born to sin excuses so much. Makes love such a hard impossible task. Makes being weak excusable. Without sin what would be left? Perhaps only love. The being of love. The I Am of Love.
I stopped looking for sin years back. I chose to look for love. I learned that I will find what I am looking for. So why look for – and find – sin? Why not look for – and find – love? Just as this gentle man who walked with us 2000 years did so wonderfully.
Recently I keep seeing entitlement. The real living thing that lives within. A growing hungry insidious invisible thing. An acceptable and appropriate thing. For who can argue with “what is mine is mine”? It lends itself to yet another intellectual discourse down the ages. But entitlement corrodes. It undermines. It rules and it demands a reward. Always the reward of more and more that is mine and less and less that is yours. And it cuts across everything and everyone.
Much more than sin. For sin you have to believe. For entitlement you simply have to yearn for more. It comes faithful and faith-free. It is universal just like love.
I read of Jesus and I see him cutting through that far more than sin. And I wonder today if we prefer to keep sin central to faith so we can excuse all the rest. So that we can claim being unable to stop being entitled because “I am infused with sin” – not my fault obviously.
The good news?
Even if I believe I cannot not sin – I can choose whether I am entitled ort not. For entitlement IS something I can do something about.
And therein the rub for me.
Isn’t choosing entitlement simply my choice that has nothing to do with sin?
Now imagine a world without entitlement ….