It’s a word that I hear thrown around quite a bit these days. Usually in connection with “those millennials.” The entitlement started way before anyone thought to call themselves hipsters or thugs though. There is the Bill of Rights and human rights and women’s rights and animal rights. And while I believe in the essence of all (make that most) of these things, I don’t think that they are truly “rights.”
What I understand is that I’m not truly entitled to anything. I owe everything that I have and everything that I am to my creator, the God of the universe.
Ok, where is all this coming from?
Mark 11. Jesus is trying to prepare the disciples for his death which is only a few days away. (Check my math… I’m going from memory here). The disciples, like me most of the time, aren’t getting it. And in the middle of telling them about the power of faith and prayer Jesus says this…
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Forgive them. Does that mean I’m not going to be mad at them anymore? Does that mean let them back in to hurt me again?
What if forgiveness really means that I let go of my false sense of entitlement? “I forgive you.” When I say it in sincerity, it really means “You don’t owe me anything. You don’t owe me money or time or help or love or an apology. You don’t owe me affection or praise or an explanation. Nothing.”
Today, I put this belief into practice. Taking Jesus forgiveness as my example, I wrote out notes to some of the people in my life that I need to forgive. Some notes were long, some were short. Some were easy and some brought pain and tears. They all said, “You don’t owe me anything.”
I don’t intend to send any of these notes. This was something that I had to resolve in my own heart. If, down the road, I need to address someone I hope God will give me the courage to do that.
For now, I know that forgiveness in my heart has left more room for God. And that promises to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I’ll take these over my entitlement any day.