“This entitlement mentality is going to kill our nation.”
Repeatedly, we hear modern-day “prophets” mouthing that combination complaint-diagnosis-warning. I take no pleasure in believing that those “prophets” are very likely right.
Paul Harvey used to warn, “Self-government without self-discipline will not work.”
The entitlement mentality of those who make heavy demands while failing to shoulder any responsibilities is poison. And I hate what happens to the souls of those who adopt “victim-hood” as their identity.
I hate it even worse when I see that entitlement mentality creeping into my own soul. Like a bum hitching a ride on a freight train, that sick way of thinking steals its way onto my heart. I may not see it jump on, but I can know it’s there when I catch myself grinching and grousing because of something I don’t have but wish I did, something I used to have but don’t have now, something I have but feel I should have much more of. My joy is being derailed.
I can know for sure that the greedy and grinchy intruder, a poisonous parasite, has attached itself to my soul when I find myself often asking with deep poignancy, “Am I happy?” thereby ensuring that I won’t be, can’t be.
Real happiness is a by-product of living a life not centered on self, a life genuinely focused on others and the Giver of life.
A self-centered, inward turned, navel-gazing, “poor pitiful me” sort of life makes its own life a hell and issues in a hellish existence for those around it. With eyes locked in a selfish death-gaze, it can’t know happiness. In truth, real happiness is the last thing it wants. It opts instead, in a thousand twisted, sick ways, to slavishly suck all the bitter poison out of living life focused inward.
To look outward and center on the well-being of others would be to find health and healing, but the price for happiness—to turn its back on self—is a price it is absolutely unwilling to pay. Literally, here and hereafter, it would rather focus on self in hell than on God in heaven.
Before he healed a sufferer, Jesus once asked, “Do you want to be healed?” It was a real question. And this real question comes to each of us. Do we want to be happy?
Take some time. Think about it. Answer truthfully. Saying “yes” will mean giving up perpetually playing the victim. It will mean focusing on what we have, not on what we don’t. It will mean genuinely, in practical ways, caring more about others than ourselves. It will mean giving up claims to what we love to think we’re entitled to, realizing that even the things we are sure we’ve earned by our hard work or pedigree or excellent character are, in fact, not our “due” but are God’s gifts.
In his fine book Soul Keeping, John Ortberg writes simply but truly, “You can’t be grateful for something you believe you are entitled to. And without a grateful heart, the soul suffers because the soul needs gratitude.”
An entitlement mentality doesn’t just kill nations. It kills souls. To choose to be grateful is to choose life and happiness.
You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!
Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.