Entitlement is a dangerous illusion, selling us on the idea that it’s right to be selfish. In our relationship with our beloved, we feel entitled to our sweetheart’s love, but this can actually work against love.
Entitlement means wanting to receive something we haven’t earned but we expect to get, simply because someone somewhere told us we “should” have it, it’s “owed” to us, and if we dream hard enough for it, it’ll come floating on a dream-ray and fall into our laps as we sit waiting.
And when we don’t receive it, we get upset. After all, it’s already ours, but someone is blocking it, and that’s unfair — right?
The truth is, whenever we receive anything that we feel entitled to, it’s not worth much, because it came too easily. We value most those accomplishments that were most difficult to obtain. For example, a marriage that survives (and learns from) divisive hardships is much more valuable and treasured than a young marriage still in its honeymoon stage.
What’s our relationship with God worth? We’ll never be worthy enough of his love, since he is soooooo good and perfect and inhumanly wonderful. That’s why Jesus died for us. We’re not entitled to salvation, but he freely gives it to us.
In our relationship with our sweetheart, however, we do need to strive to be worthy of the other’s love. Every day. Not because we’re trying to earn our beloved’s love, but because, when we feel unworthy, what’s our reaction to any goodness that comes from our sweetheart? When we’re given a compliment, or positive feedback, it feels undeserved and therefore more like a scam or manipulation than genuine love.
The goal is to feel worthy without feeling entitled. Humility and generosity protect us from the illusion of entitlement. Striving to give God our best is what enables us to be worthy of our sweetheart’s admiration and respect.
- What do I feel entitled to?
- What does my sweetheart do that is worthy of my respect?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe what you see is the difference between entitlement and worthiness, between expecting respect and earning respect. What do you respect about each other? Pray together, “Jesus, we are not worthy to receive the abundant love You have for us. But we are sorry for our sins. Say the Word and we shall be healed of our unworthiness, because when you died on the Cross for us and came back to life in the Resurrection, you lifted us up into the fullness of love.”
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries