Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Entitlement: The Killer of Thankful Hearts

I don't mean for this post to be a holiday squasher but perhaps this is the BEST time to discuss something that is becoming a deadly virus in much of our culture. During a time of year when we at least try to focus on being thankful for what we have we would be wise to also consider what can steal that attitude of gratitude the rest of the year.

It's entitlement. And no I'm not talking primarily about programs commonly labeled as entitlements like social security and Medicare though perhaps they too are an indirect result of this virus.

But I want to challenge us all to think about an attitude and expectation that we personally should have certain privileges, rights, possessions and opportunities provided for us no matter what. In a recent blog I discussed how many parents expect that their child should receive the best coach, teacher, role in the play or whatever.

Go back and read that blog if you missed it. It's one subcategory of entitlement.

But this attitude goes beyond our children. We, too, believe that we should have priority in even the simple things like: the open parking spot, the place in line, tickets for the game the invite to the prestigious party or the full attention of the clerk in the store. See what the reaction is of most drivers when you accidently took their space in a driving lane or that one place left for a car to park at the mall!

Perhaps more significant might be our demand for: the best doctor in the waiting room, the head of the company to call us, the pastor to pay more attention to us or the local utility company to handle our complaint and problem first.  One way to tell is to measure your anger quotient when you don't get something you felt entitled to. If it's highere than say "5" on the anger meter you probably struggle with entitlement.

But remember that this virus can be deadly. It can first kill our thankfulness. And when we're not thankful we aren't usually happy. We will always demand more from those around us, our kids and even our family.

Second, we will become annoying, arrogant people who people will ultimately pull away from and avoid unless they are just like us. No one wants to be around a person who constantly thinks they deserve more or better and is always trying to get their demands met no matter the cost.

Third, we will never overcome our personal challenges. Why? Because we will always require one more thing to satisfy us, one more person to give us what we we believe we're entitled to. And even if we do get something on our list, there will be one more. We won't understand that entitlement is really a black hole that never gets filled up.

So, whatever you do, squash the entitlement virus from  your mind, family and home. Start by becoming thankful all the time, every day. As you feel your anger rising, tell God you're thankful for something He blessed you with that day anyway. Teach and model thanksgiving for your family.

Second, you let go of your demand that you get everything you think you must have to succeed or be OK. God is the only one capable of giving you that. So let Him be your guide.

Desire those things but don't demand them. If you do, you'll lose any chance of having a thankful heart and experiencing an ultimately fulfilled life.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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