“Entitlement” is a word commonly heard these days. It is often used objectively; that is, it is usually spoken in reference to others. Rarely does someone say, “I am entitled.” They usually substitute some other phrase that means the same thing: “I deserve this”; “Society owes me”; “It’s not fair.”
Some aspects of entitlement are legitimate. If we paid into social security all our working life, we are contractually “entitled” to receive it back with interest. Parents are “entitled” to respect and honor from their children because of their sacrifices on behalf of those children and by the authority God endows them with. True entitlement is a position gained by merit.
But in our vernacular, this is not what we mean by the word. It is usually in the context of receiving what is not owed, a handout, a privilege or benefit not earned but expected because of an overinflated sense of one’s worth or injury or age or some other criteria. This kind of entitlement is born of pride and greed and earns a negative connotation for good reason.
A sense of entitlement is the polar opposite of what a Christian is to possess. Rather, humility is to be the dominant trait in self-assessment and interaction with others. This is irrespective of the merits of the case: Jesus was the most powerful, perfect, deserving person to walk the earth, yet He made no demands of self-elevation or privilege. Whatever we as humans may accomplish, the scales always tip toward our demerits.
“Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Pet 5:5).