Thinking about a sermon I heard about a year ago about community. (yea, long time) God grants us the gift of fellowship in a community that can bring us encouragement, belonging, love, understanding… I would imagine it is a distant shadow of what the Trinity of Father Son and Holy Spirit are. However, we are not guaranteed the same gang always-and-ever. Sometimes you have to say goodbye, and bring what you have been given to share with another community; yet the act of fellowship – this you can always have.
Today, I was thinking about how we can get bitter about feeling left out. (I can, sometimes… but some people are probably sweet unassuming lambs who might feel hurt but not bitter.) What causes the bitterness? Well, I would say it is our belief that we are entitled to being included. Hence when we are not included, then we will perceive that an injustice has been done!
Sometimes we may feel entitled to being blessed by God. Entitled to success in some way. Entitled to know what direction we should take in life rightnowplease. Entitled to knowing why Jesus is the only way. Entitled to being saved by God. Entitled to freedom from God’s will. Entitled to see that what we thinkandreason to be ‘good’ is what is going to happen. The list goes on.
Such an attitude of entitlement, of assuming we have a right to things, is proud at its roots, and a rejection of grace. Grace is the unmerited unentitled favour of God. I am not included in God’s love because of me – whatever my qualities are and however great they may be. It is encapsulated well in this verse: (it manages to say in one sentence what I have been trying say, perhaps successfully perhaps unsuccessfully, in the last few paragraphs!)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:10-12)
So this sounds kind of brutal – but by this train of thought in the second part of the quote above (where love is serving, like Christ, and being like Christ), friendships/relationships are not about the person? Who they are doesn’t matter. Life gets ugly when one cannot let go of a person. You think you are entitled. Or you think they are entitled. The person and your relationship to them is temporal; your relationships with God are eternal.
Not sure how cryptic/clear this is at the time of finishing typing. Funny how I can type and type when I blog but not when I write essays.
I feel slightly less entitled to anything than I did when I began writing this. There’s a freedom to the feeling :) Not that I don’t still have a long way to go.