I don’t like to think of myself as a selfish person but really, everyone has a selfish nature. Sometimes I think I’m living fine and free then BLAM, I hit a wall of offense. Especially when it comes to the topic of “friends.” I am passionate about my friends. My favorite scripture is Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times.” I will fly across the oceans just to see my friends, or set up Skype dates if I can’t see them in person. Although I’m not perfect, I try to make sure they know I love them. I have been blessed with wonderful friends, and when I’ve been able to live out that friendship in community, I am happy so happy!
Rewind to a year ago when I was newly married and living in a new state. I stepped off that plane with hope and full confidence that I would undoubtedly find a community to wrap my arms around as I learned to love my new home and life. I’ve lived in a few different states and I’ve never had a problem finding some type of community. Even if it’s a small group of people I met from work, or a few people I met at a play group from Avery’s old toddler days. But this time, it’s different. This time, all the things I’ve known to do to find community, well they don’t seem to work.
Have I met some pals? Yes, I sure have. Are there people here that love me deeply? Yes, thank God there are. Have I had the community experience I expected to have? Not so much. How have I handled that? Because of my social nature, community comes somewhat easy for me, thus I came to expect it wherever I’ve lived, and because I felt that I’ve done my due diligence, I came to feel even entitled to it. Now expectation is one thing, but entitlement can be a tricky evil.
I believe entitlement has evil roots. One of the most entitled beings I’ve ever learned of is Satan. Yes, Satan thought he had certain rights. He felt entitled. What about Eve? She found her entitlement when she was convinced that she had the right to know the difference between good and evil, even though God commanded her to leave that fruit alone. Betrayal, murder, theft, and other crimes; somewhere in there if you look close enough entitlement, in all of its selfishness, was at play. That’s scary. Entitlement tells us that we deserve special privileges in life but really, what do we deserve?
If we were given all that we deserve in life, we would probably find ourselves dead, maybe friendless, or even cast out of heaven like Satan. When we’ve surrendered our lives to God we don’t get what we think we deserve, we get something so much better. We get undeserved favor. We get grace. By the way, just because I haven’t found the community I was so used to finding in friends doesn’t mean I haven’t found the community God gifted me with in my family. By God’s grace I have a husband, daughter, and son. We do life together every day. We eat together, play together, pray together, and keep each other accountable. I didn’t deserve them or even expected to have them all, but God gave them to me anyway.
Entitlement: a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges
Grace: Undeserved favor
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