Entitlement:

Pronunciation: \-ˈtī-təl-mənt\
Function: noun
Date: 1942

1 a : the state or condition of being entitled : right b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract
2 : a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
3 : belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

There seems to be a trend in my life where people around me feel so entitled.  Perhaps I have grown more sensitive to it and it was always there, or perhaps it’s a generational thing, but it seems to be everywhere.

I will not get into specifics, but I recently had a conflict with someone who I would consider to be a friend.  This person felt I should act a certain way in a certain situation.  Because I didn’t, it made them uncomfortable.  From my perspective, I needed more time to think and pray before saying or doing anything, but my silence in itself led to conflict.

Of course, I know it would have been easier to do what this person wanted me to do and put on a fake smile and engage.  And perhaps I should have done just that.  But at what point did this person stop to think about what I was feeling?

Perhaps I was having a bad day and could have used a friend to reach out to me.  Perhaps Daddy and I had just gotten into a fight and I just couldn’t take on more than one thing.  Perhaps someone in my family had just died.  Perhaps a million other scenarios took place, yet my friends were quick to jump to the conclusion that they understood my behavior (and further jumped to it being a pride issue on my end) and automatically didn’t like it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming them for their actions.  I think it’s  a completely natural thing to do, and I am quite sure there has been times when I do the same.  In fact, I care a lot about the friend who discussed the issue with me, but I have to agree to disagree at this point. Doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind tomorrow.  Or in ten years.  Or in ten minutes.  I have no resistance to change.  I love to see God mold and change me often.  I didn’t like who I was before I knew God – so bring on the change, I say!

At what point are we called to assume the best in others, and lean a little less on our own understanding?  Where is the line drawn between wanting a friend to grow in their relationship with God and just wanting everyone to act as you would act or how you would expect them to act?  Is that decision determined by how close of friends you are or simply because you both believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and savior you get to step into their lives and tell them how they should live it?

Honestly, I feel like this is an area where I have really struggled in the past … and probably still have room for improvement.  I am opinionated.  I feel like my opinions are God-led, so it’s hard for me to remember that they are led by God for me. They are not for everyone.  We cannot all be the same, or nothing would ever get done.  We must be and act differently.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Those passages have always been some of my favorites.  When I worked in the cooperate world, I would pray over my team with those words in mind.  When our MOPS leadership was struggling, those words rang true for me again and again.  And now, the echo is once again loud in my mind.

We are all pieces of the body of Christ.  As I see pieces of His hands feeling entitled and divided over details that mean so little in the big picture, I feel the suffering.