What is Self-Entitlement and How Do I Get Rid of It?
Self-entitlement: The attitude that lurks just under my skin, ready to emerge whenever I’ve worked my rear-end off and think I deserve some sort of a pay-back. (Also, when I imagine that people are deliberately disregarding my time or work.) (Also, when I self-righteously call myself a “servant”, but expect to be treated like a “queen”. I once heard a pastor say, “If you want to be the servant of all, expect to be treated like it.” Who wants that?!)
Its appearance: I’ve noticed ugly self-entitlement in my own life when I demand a “break” from the children, a mind-reading husband or a clean house (“I just cleaned this entry-way! Who left their shoes right in the middle of the floor?!”).
Its symptoms: So, what begins as an ugly thought, becomes a silent-though-deadly sigh, which becomes a snippy comment (“I said, who left their shoes right in the middle of the floor?!”), which becomes resentful behavior (shoving shoes into the closet), which becomes a sulky, mean, and demanding me.
Its friends: I find that when I am indulging self-entitlement, I’m simultaneously indulging discontentment, resentment, pride, selfishness, and independence. ‘Must be what Paul was talking about when he wrote, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:16)
Its food: Somehow, self-entitlement seems to gobble away the lovely things in life like relational peace, service, contentment, and joy.
Its fault: It turns out that, even if I did work my rear-end off, picking up those shoes is yet another practical way that I can serve the shoe-owner who - let it be known - did not intentionally leave his shoes there just to make me mad, or to disrespect my hard work. Rather - now that I think about it - he worked just as hard as (harder than?) I did and happened to leave his shoes on the mat on one (very) ill-timed occasion. And chances are, he didn’t have time to put them in the closet because he was rushing to relieve me of a whining child, a load of laundry, or a burning pot of beans, which made our house spell like cigarette smoke for days.
Its freedom: The way I see it, I am entitled to 2 stunning rights:
To love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength
To love my neighbor as myself. (Of course, these basically open a glorious storeroom of rights to me: the rights to serve others, love others, and to enjoy peace, kindness, and gladness to my heart’s content.)
Beyond that, though, I’ve got no self-entitlements. None.
I am not entitled to sulk, complain, demand, destroy, or resent. If my husband needs to work an extra hour on Tuesday night, or leave his shoes in the doorway; if my child needs me to leave a friend’s house early because she is strung-out from that 10 a.m. cupcake, or if she needs me to use that precious nap-time to plan healthier snacks for the week, bring it on. Let the thanksgiving commence! Let this woman say, “Praise the Lord! He has entitled me to love!”
It’s fought with: Philipians 2:3, James 3: 16, Romans 12: 1 - 2, Philipians 4: 4 - 9, Galations 5: 22 - 23
(Don’t worry! The author of this text took plenty of feminist-theory classes in college and has read piles of books about a woman’s rights, privileges, and expectations. She concludes that the feminist mentality doesn’t hold a candle to the glories of living a feminine life of Christian service and sacrifice that glorifies God!)