A Sense of Entitlement

Posted by  | Wednesday, June 3, 2009  at 7:00 AM  
Here's what I've been thinking this week as I consider being kind. I am generally a kind person. I'm kind to friends and strangers alike. I think God has gifted me with a heart that is bent towards kindness. But I have a secret side of me that rears its ugly head every now and again. It's called my "sense of entitlement." And it can turn a usually kind me into a very mean and ugly me. Does this ever happen to you?

It usually only happens with strangers, but sometimes with friends. I'll share two examples to illustrate what I'm talking about. One is about me and one is about someone else. But they are both perfect in catching what I'm talking about.

ONE: I babysit a little girl Monday through Friday. She usually gets picked up at 4:00, but I've asked her mom to pick her up at 3:45 on Tuesdays because I take the boys up to a nursing home on Tuesday afternoons. Well, this mom hardly ever remembers to pick up her little girl on time. Almost every week she pulls in at 4:05 and says "oh, gosh, it's Tuesday. I totally forgot." ENTER: My Sense of Entitlement. I've taken to packing up said child and my children as well and waiting on the front step for her to arrive. I still smile and speak kindly, but the message has been sent: you were supposed to be her 20 minutes ago. I know in my heart that I am not choosing kindness. I'm really trying to make her feel bad for being late. I could just remind her in the mornings that it's Tuesday, but instead I choose to set her up to forget so that I can shove my sense of entitlement in her face.

TWO: A few years ago I volunteered to work at the Sharing Shop at Seminary (if you don't know what this is: it's an apartment at Seminary full of stuff that students donate and then can shop at twice a week for free). Well, I guess there had been problems with non-Seminary people coming to the Sharing Shop, so they decided to start enforcing the rule that you HAD to show a student i.d. or a parking pass to come in the house. I was told that I HAD to enforce this rule - no exceptions. A girl showed up and didn't have an i.d. I explained the situation to her and told her that I had to do what I'd been told and I couldn't let her in. She let me HAVE IT. She huffed and puffed about how unfair it was and all these people knew her and knew she was a Seminary wife, etc. Her sense of entitlement won out over her kindness. She went away that night feeling like her sense of entitlement had been crossed, but everyone else there went away thinking she was a really ugly person (sorry, that sounds blunt, but hopefully you get what I'm saying). She's probably a really sweet person and probably even kind, but that sense of entitlement can really get you sometimes.

I want to learn that my sense of entitlement doesn't exist. Period. My heart should be full of kindness and I should be learning to die to self. It's a tough lesson to learn, really tough. But I know that what pleases God is to see me choosing to put others ahead of myself. I want to choose kindness.

3 comments:

Shannon Bradley said...

Thanks, Leah! I struggle with this too... it is easy to try to "hide" behind our "rights"/"entitlement" when it is actually sin! And just like Hollie said, this happens with our own children and husbands too! I wonder if I practiced kindness intensely at home, if it would just overflow to other people? Thanks for the encouragement:)

Book a Day said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheila said...

I definitely struggle with "feeling entitled". I get lured into feeling like the good Christian wife and mom and forget that "feeling entitled" is a sin too!

I love this blog. Are you all workers overseas? My husband and I are moving overseas to work this fall and I love reading other women's blogs who are already there!

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