I’m infected. There have been signs for a while that should have aided a self diagnosis but it was only yesterday as I heard a fellow sufferer speak about her own symptoms that it all became painfully clear.
“a sense of entitlement is a virus that eats away at us.” She said it plainly and all of a sudden everything fell into place.
I think I should have more, be more – that at 42 I deserve more than I have. I feel entitled, owed: those around me are indebted to me and need to cut me more more slack, afford me more respect and show deference to my opinions, wants and needs.
I feel like God owes me: comfort, time, better housing, more generous holidays, sunshine on days off, money for my wants as well as my needs, children who are unquestioningly obedient, a spouse who is unfalteringly patient, cars that sail through traffic, health that doesn’t deteriorate, coffee that’s always good, people to serve me without error or inconvenience, days without loneliness, cake without calories, success without effort… the list goes on and on and on.
I’ve harboured and cultured this virus – I’ve warmed it with self-pity, fed it the pure proteins of consumerism and sheltered it in the dark humidity of self-interest. The infection is bad and has a real grip.
As I listened to the speaker at church yesterday, an ordinary woman who has served for many years in a war torn country, talking about the infection of the entitlement virus – the diagnosis and the treatment were clear.
- I am owed nothing – everything I have is an amazing gift. Gratitude, not grumbling, is the first line of attack: gratitude for life and the honour of knowing God in Jesus Christ – each day is a gift.
- Humility paralyses the virus – God is God, I am not: this is His world not mine, I serve Him not Him me, and this world does not function as He designed it; inconvenience and hard work are just part of life, remembering this keeps the symptoms of the virus in check.
- Changing the intellectual and spiritual environment starves the virus and renders it ineffectual. Feeding myself with the truth of God’s Word, choosing to serve among His people and both love and be loved in the great imperfections of life are the antibodies which course through a system and prevent the virus from thriving: the light of the gospel prevents it feeding and spreading.
- Being loved in Christ Jesus, kills the virus off. God has given us His Son and now, nothing good is withheld when it is good for us. I am owed nothing but, owned in Christ, I have laid hold of an inheritance which means I am rich beyond the wildest and truest hopes of humanity.
Today I feel a little freer of the symptoms of the virus which could prove deadly. I’ll keep taking the medicine and antiviral therapies until the end of my days – then, I shall be truly free.
What about you? How infected are you?