Entitlement

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Entitlement

by John Kay

[Christian Boot Camp (CBC) is a series of teachings on topics (which CBC refers to as Belief Deceptions) that cripple people and churches, such as pride, offense, anger, fear, self-righteousness, denial, blame-shifting, enabling and victim mentality, just to name a few. These teachings—complete with accompanying slides, handouts, and other collaterals, can help your church get on the road to total health. The following article is a very short excerpt of the CBC teaching on the subject of Entitlement. Contact Innovative Church & Worship Consulting for more details.]

Ah, the entitled person. What words come to mind when you think of someone who behaves with ENTITLEMENT? Pride? Arrogance? Selfishness?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of ENTITLEMENT is:

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Make no mistake: at the root of is ENTITLEMENT is pride. Christian Boot Camp contends that someone who walks in ENTITLEMENT might think:

The rules that apply to others, don’t apply to me. I feel that I am entitled to certain privileges that others simply are not allowed. I take unauthorized liberties to behave in ways that please me, because I’m…well…special! Someone once told me that I’m special; so, I assume that they were speaking for everyone. I have no problem taking advantage of others when it suits my interests. You would think by my selfish actions that I’m a sought-after celebrity, because I classify everyone on the planet in one of two categories: (1) servants, or (2) those of us who are to be served.”

Would others say that you have a sense of ENTITLEMENT? Here are a few examples of someone who feels entitled:

  • Expecting the same rules that apply to others shouldn’t apply to you.
  • Believing that because you’re a safer driver than most, you should be allowed to break driving laws.
  • Taking unauthorized liberties to park in spaces you’re not authorized to park in.
  • Feeling burdened when others ask you for favors, but expecting that when you ask for favors, the other person should stop what they’re doing to accommodate your need.
  • Expecting others to be more interested in you and your life, than you are in their life.
  • Seeing your own interests, goals and dreams as more pressing and important than other people’s.
  • Disregarding rules that are intended for everyone’s comfort. For example, ignoring signs to not put your feet on the chairs in the movie theater, or not cleaning up your dog’s poop in public.
  • Inconveniencing others without giving it a second thought, such as canceling appointments or reservations, or making plans with friends and then bailing on those plans without considering that your friend may have organized other plans around fitting you in.
  • Running into a store two minutes before closing without thinking about the fact you’ll be delaying the employees from closing on time.

And could you have a sense of ENTITLEMENT at church?

  • Feeling that you should have 24/7 access to your Pastor.
  • Believing that you deserve to be on the worship team because of your gifting, tenure, or anointing.
  • Thinking that you should be allowed to make a special, last-minute announcement during the service.
  • Feeling that you’re entitled to visitor-designated parking spaces.
  • Worship team members who feel that their musical gift excuses them from other types of volunteering.
  • You believe your church title or longevity entitles you to a distinguished seat.
  • You believe your church title or longevity excuses you from physical labor when the church needs help.
  • You want to know—and even designate—where your tithes and offerings go.
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As a reminder, Christian Boot Camp was designed to teach christians how to behave like Christ. So, what did Jesus say about ENTITLEMENT?

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
— Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:22-23 ESV)

Who will He say this to? To people who feel that their works, their church tenure, their title, etc. should allow them entrance into heaven. Here’s the same passage, but in the Message Bible:

“Knowing a password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with Me. What is required is serious obedience…I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to Me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress Me one bit. You’re out of here.’”
— Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:22-23 MSG)

Yowch! Jesus is giving us clear warning that ENTITLEMENT doesn’t work with Him.

So, what’s the remedy for ENTITLEMENT? Humility. True humility. Here are 15 attributes of humility, by Joyce Meyer:

  1. You are teachable.
  2. You are influenceable.
  3. You can be corrected without defending yourself.
  4. You rejoice when others are celebrated.
  5. No job is too small for you.
  6. You don’t have to be right.
  7. You naturally seek the advice of others.
  8. Your prayers are mostly composed of thankfulness and intercession for others.
  9. You freely admit your flaws, mistakes, and failures, and follow a plan to overcome them.
  10. You live to help others succeed.
  11. You are not easily offended.
  12. You have a thankful attitude, both to God—and to people.
  13. You don’t live with a sense of entitlement…you don’t feel that anyone owes you something.
  14. You are quick to forgive and don’t hold grudges.
  15. You are confident in who you are and content with who you are not.

In closing, let me give you two huge reasons to abandon—dare I say, RUN—from ENTITLEMENT:

  1. God Detests ENTITLEMENT. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” What is grace? Simply put, it means favor. And who wouldn’t want God’s favor on their lives?
  2. People Detest ENTITLEMENT. Come on, think about it. You know people throughout your life who have acted in ENTITLEMENT. And how did you respond? It was repulsive. It made you sick. So, why wouldn’t people feel the same way when you act entitled?

Please don’t think that I’m throwing stones at anyone. The fact is, I used to be an entitled person. While it's embarrassing to admit, I always thought that my church title, tenure, possessions, charisma (and many other perceived attributes too lengthy to list here) entitled me to special treatment. When I came to the realization that being a christian meant that I vowed to die to myself (Luke 9:23), honor others above myself (Romans 12:10), and become a servant to others (Gal. 5:13). And can I be honest? Serving others is way more rewarding than serving myself exclusively. It left me feeling empty. Serving others is much more fulfilling.

 

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