Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ENTITLED


You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand. If you think you are better than others, when you really aren't, you are wrong. Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don't compare yourself with others. We each must carry our own load. (Galatians 6:2-5, CEV)

Remember McDonald's famous old jingle? "You deserve a break today..." Admittedly, that has subconsciously become my mantra over the years. I often buy into the false belief that because I've suffered, I'm entitled to something. I should be able to forget about keeping my house clean because I spend so much time at doctors' offices. I should be able to run up credit card balances because of all the financial woes we have endured over the past 12 years.

The scary part is that most Americans would find nothing wrong with this thought process. We live in a time in history where we delude ourselves into thinking no human should have to face even the slightest difficulty. Suffering or even discomfort must be avoided at all costs. And the ones responsible for relieving us of such difficulties are either those who are not currently suffering or our government.

However, Jesus reminds us that God "sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45) That means that we all face our challenges and are commanded to be there for one another in those challenges. When the dreaded diagnosis first comes or the pink slip is issued, we are to "bear one another's burdens". Bringing a meal, giving a mother a little break by watching her kids or even just listening can help our fellow pilgrims through those painful times of personal stretching and growth. But when it comes to the responsibilities of daily living, we each are to "carry (our) own load," maintaining our families, homes and finances to the best of our abilities.

In their outstanding book series BOUNDARIES, Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend clarify this point. Worth incorporating into a new personal mindset, these 2 gentlemen expose the value of being clear on our own personal boundaries and being respectful of those of others.

How differently this world would operate if we each adopted these biblical principles of losing the attitude that life owes us something and instead dedicating ourselves to looking out for one another! Jesus never exercised His rights as King here on earth. He was born in total poverty and political oppression. He worked hard as a carpenter and exhausted himself as a traveling preacher. Still, He never entertained the notion that He was entitled. Instead, He clothed himself in truth and compassion. He was subjected to the most unjust agony for love of us. And He never had a chip on His shoulder because of it. When we exchange our attitudes about what we think we deserve for the imitation of Christ, we bring a little piece of Heaven here to earth.

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