“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours’” (Luke 15:31, NLT).
Friend to Friend
When am I finally going to get what I deserve?
Maybe you’ve muttered those words under your breath while reading an email from your boss. Perhaps you’ve spat those words out in anger after a visit with your parents or your kids. You feel like you’ve bent over backward, but you still don’t feel appreciated, even though you put in the time, effort, or energy to earn it.
One summer, my youngest daughter worked on the restaurant staff at a dream destination theme park. She called home to express frustration with customers who yelled and even bullied restaurant employees when a ketchup container was empty, or an ordered sandwich was missing bacon. She remarked that customers justified their rude behavior with the common explanation, “I paid a lot of money to come here.” In their minds, paying for a high-priced vacation meant that they could behave rudely or unkindly if their experience was less than perfect. This is an example of entitled thinking.
No one wants to admit to feeling entitled, but as Christians, it’s a sneaky attitude that can creep into the most mature Christian’s life without notice. Spiritual entitlement harbors secret beliefs like, “If I am a good person, then I shouldn’t have to suffer” or, “If I pray enough, then God should give me what I want.”
However, spiritual entitlement is the stairway to resentment toward God. We can get grumpy with God because He hasn’t or doesn’t give us what we think that we deserve. If you’re feeling angry with God or resentful toward God, it’s okay, He can take it.
However, your task is to tackle any entitled mindset that is stinking up your thinking. Letting go of an entitled mindset frees you to remember the power of God’s grace over what you think that you should get. It’s basking in God’s grace, remembering the freedom you enjoy rather than the consequences of your sin.
In Luke 15, Jesus taught a group of religious leaders about entitlement mentality in a way that they never saw coming. As Jesus told the story of the prodigal son coming home, the religious leaders squirmed at the idea of grace. Why would the young man be restored to his rightful place after such bad behavior?
Then, Jesus introduced the dutiful older brother who followed all of the rules. The older brother was angry with his father and refused to come to the welcome home party. “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.” (Luke 15:29). Then he railed against his father for never giving him what he thought he deserved.
The tragedy of an entitled attitude is that it erases grace and ignores the abundance of mercy. The older brother, who symbolized the self-righteous religious leaders, clung to his entitled behavior. That attitude robbed him of celebrating grace in his brother’s life and perhaps recognizing it in his own.
I wonder, where does that elder-brother attitude show up in our lives? When I was growing up as the oldest child, sometimes I had to take on more responsibilities than my siblings. I’d stomp my foot and say, “Dad, that’s not fair!” He would reply, “That’s because life’s not fair.”
As a woman who has made her share of mistakes, I’m so glad that I haven’t gotten what I deserved! I’ve been the recipient of God’s grace and mercy so many times in my life, and I haven’t deserved any of it. But I’ll take it!
We don’t know if the elder brother ever changed his mind, but Jesus tells us that the father never did. In Luke 15:31, the father told the elder son that everything that he had belonged to his son. The same goes for you and me. As God’s children through Jesus Christ, we’ve been given God’s very best—not because we’re entitled to it, but because of grace.
God, I give thanks for Your grace and mercy in my life. Thank You for all of the blessings that I do not deserve. Thank You that I don’t have to earn Your love or forgiveness. For the places where life doesn’t seem fair, I choose to focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How have you seen God’s grace and mercy bless your life even though you don’t deserve it?
Where are you struggling with the unfairness of life lately?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s content is from Barb’s recent devotional book, Surrendered: 40 Days to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus. This 40-day devotional invites you to let go of trying to control others or outcomes and learn how to live like Jesus. Learn how to trust God’s power, presence, promises, and provision for your life so that you experience God’s peace no matter what’s happening in your life.
2021 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.
I’m struggling with this one. I know I should not have an entitled thinking around, “How many entitled and challenging bosses can I possibly endure?” I am on my third tough boss at the moment. I’ve seen where they stretch the truth, outright lies, continually miscommunicates and I could go on. I am not able to trust them since I have witnessed some of these things firsthand. My heart aches for these people that endure that kind of behavior. I am very careful to try not to make a mistake even though I do. I am now on anxiety and depression medicine and going to counseling. I have prioritized my work over my son most days due to fear of messing up or missing something.
So yes, I do feel I deserve a break. Or maybe God thinks I deserve these types of people in my life. I am struggling and I don’t have much of anything left to give to anyone in my life.
Hi Becky, thank you for sharing your comment and your wrestling. We both know that many women can relate to what you’ve written in so many ways! I want to applaud you for taking steps to take care of yourself and I pray that also inspires women.
Amen! Thank you Heavenly Father for your grace and mercy!! I became a divorcee at 28 with 2 children under 4. Now at 62, I often wonder why I never received a godly husband to share my life with. Then, out of no where I will get at call from one of the girls sharing a rewarding story about how God blesses them by starting off with, “mama, let me tell you how good God is.” Or I get a random facetime call from my 4 year old granddaughter saying, “GiGi I just wanted to see you!”
I thank my God for HIS grace and HIS mercy because through the years WE NEVER WANTED FOR ANYTHING! I thank you GOD!!! Now we did not have much, but we did not require much…GOD PROVIDED!!
Blessings to you, your family and your ministry!
Hi Sherri, thank you for stopping by Girfriends in God. You blessed my heart and others with your testimony of how you may have wondered about why life turned out a certain way and yet, you give thanks and celebrate God’s blessings and provisions. Thank you for inspiring us with your story and may you be blessed for how you given God glory!
Thank you for your inspired devotion.
This is the season of my life where I’m looking back to see where the Father has watched over me and provided for me. Doesn’t a praise/worship song say “I’ve seen the evidence of your mercy…all over my life…”?
I consider myself one of the many prodigal daughters of the world, and in my Bible translation, says “and while a long way off, his father saw him…”
This part of the verse, just fills me with joy, to know that HE was looking for me!( My own father,God rest his soul,wasn’t quite that excited to see me come home)
Life doesn’t always pan out to our imagined plan, but, if we give our life back to God’s purpose, He truly is with us every step of the way.
Bless you, Barb, your writings usually hit the mark for me. May you have continued blessings in your ministry.
Hi Carol, I always get chills as well when I think of how God wants for us and He longs for us to return to Him. I love that you referenced the song “I’ve seen the evidence of your mercy” – a big amen all around that! Thank you for your kind words and comments today.
Barb, thank you for putting this story into our world today. “entitlement” is a lie that satan uses to trip us up. and if we are honest, sometimes we buy into that lie. but God is lovingly faithful to bring us around to the point where we can see through that lie and confess it to Him. God is good all the time. Praise His Name.
Yep I am still waiting on what I deserved. I guess its only for certain people who have good things,,good cards dealt.,not me I get bad cards dealt whether health,,furkids, whatever. I am,about ready to,give up on God
It seems you are saying you are about the give up on God! I understand how you may be feeling in this current day in age with all these awful issues going on. I’m not sure how you may be feeling at this current stage or what you may be going through but let me tell you how important it is that you do not give up on God. He has a plan for you and you should have trust in him to give him what you need and let your live your life to the fullest. Amen.
I feel entitled because I’m always the “good person” and when is it my turn to get the better end of the stick instead of the “short end”. Especially in my marriage I feel like I have always been the person who is trying and good. But this humbled me tremendously! Thank you!