Entitlement. The subtle sin that entangles so many professing Christians.
“I don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
“I deserve this …”
“I deserve …”
“I deserve …”
“I deserve …”
This is not a Christ-like mentality. It is a prideful mindset of the flesh, of the world, of Satan himself.
In reality, we deserve absolutely nothing, but hell fire. We deserve to be punished for the many crimes we have committed against God, for our rebellion against our Creator; for our blasphemies and lust and greed and jealousy.
Did we deserve God’s forgiveness? Did we deserve to be saved from His wrath? Did we do a single thing to earn His love? No. And He expects us to treat others with the same undeserved favor—despite how they treat us.
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:44-48 NKJV)
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:18-21 NKJV)
It is only by the grace of God we have been accepted and redeemed by His blood. To feel entitled to anything is to have a mind contrary to the mind of Christ.
And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” (Luke 17:7-10 NKJV)
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV)
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-6 NKJV)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 NKJV)
If God has shown us such mercy and grace (undeserved favor) who are we to not show the same grace to unworthy sinners? Even when we feel that our anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness is justified, Christ reminds us we have no right to hold onto it, despite how poorly we are treated:
Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV)
There’s verse upon verse about how we are to deny ourselves, our feelings, our fleshly mindsets, and do what Jesus tells us to do: love, but can you point out even just one Scripture that condones us demanding to be treated with respect by others? There is none.
Christ is the only one who has a right to deserve anything good. Did He not have the right to say, “Stop slapping and spitting on me. Stop whipping me. Don’t strip me naked and pin me to a cross, I did nothing to deserve this treatment!” But He kept silent. He took what He did not deserve, He took what we do deserve. He humbled Himself to the point of death, yet we cannot not humble ourself if a friend or family member offends us?
We all need grace yet none of us deserves it. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. May we imitate Him and lay our pride down when we are persecuted, mocked, belittled and mistreated out of sheer obedience to Christ and even for the sake of our enemy, that they might get a taste of God’s grace through us and repent that they may be spared from the burning sulfur and eternal torment that awaits them.
Grace and peace to you,