Friday, April 4, 2014

Unworthy Entitlement

At times our kids feel so entitled.  At least that's how they conduct themselves.  It's as if we owe them something.  Like "hey, you brought me into this world, now make it worthwhile for me!"
So they make their demands and whine when we don't meet their expectations.  They can even grow resentful and become disrespectful if we don't grant their wishes.
Boy!  Had I known all that parenting entails, I don't know that I would have volunteered for it.
It's definitely a humbling experience.  It's sacrificial at its best.  It's self-denying.  It's giving without measure.  It's hurtful at times, although it can be rewarding.

Nevertheless, I'd declare that although there are a few rare cases when a parent purposefully hurts his/her child, most parents adore their children.  It's like we were wired to love them.  We are honored to care for them as infants.  We welcome the challenge of guiding them throughout their primary years, and we determine to be there for them during their tough adolescent and teen years.  We find comfort in being able to counsel them.  We proudly stand by them in their accomplishments, and we still stand by them in their shortcomings.  We love them!

We see their imperfections and we still love them.  We know they can be "selfish brats", and we can't help but to love them.  They reject us, and we wait for them.  They hate us, and we anticipate their next embrace.  And we look beyond their self-absorbed demeanour because we see their true potential.  Have you ever witnessed it?  If not with your own child, with someone else's?  A very bratty mouthy kid and a mother who only sings his praises.  It' kind of funny.  And it's not that she is crazy and cannot seem to accept reality.  It's simply that she loves him and sees what he can be, even if he's not there yet.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not talking about parents who see the wrong their children are capable of and then look the other way.  I'm talking about parents who see the sin in our children and choose to love them in spite of it.  That doesn't mean we "okay" it.  And at times, we have to show "tough love", we have to discipline them, and "hold on for dear life" with a firm "NO."  We love them but we don't always say yes.

Well, I can't help but think about the loving dad of the "Prodigal Son".    What an experience that must have been for that father!  To see his son walk away with his "rights" (aka. Entitlements) and not even look back.  This dad watched his son walk away without a glimmer of assurance that he'd return some day.  I find it interesting that this loving dad did not run after the son or try to persuade him to stay.  He simply let him go.  And that's what we do sometimes with our children.  We let them go.  It's another form of loving them.

But I would dare to say that this dad never took his eye off the road.  The same road his son walked off on would be the one to lead him back home.  And this father most likely never gave up the hope that his son may learn his lesson and return home.  And I"m sure that neither the distance nor the lapse of time, decreased the amount of love he had for his son.  I'm certain that although he was probably hurt, he never stopped loving his prodigal son.  Therefore, on the day that this child came home again, his dad simply opened up his arms of love to embrace him once again.  He didn't interrogate him.  He didn't turn away.  He accepted him and loved him, just as he had done all along.

I can't help but think about our relationship with our Father God.  Yes, we are the children of God, and we too have to admit we too suffer from this "entitlement" syndrome.  If we are honest, we too have been bratty and mouthy and relentless at dishonoring our Dad in heaven.  We make our demands and we whine when our wishes are not met.  We walk away at times; rather, we stomp away at times feeling entitled.  We go to the extent of walking away for an unmeasured lapse of time, hoping He never finds us in our own little "pig sty".  So many times, we play the part of the undeserving prodigal son; feeling entitled, and yet so unworthy.

And how does God respond?  What does He see?  He responds in  and with Love.  He is ready to forgive and show grace.  He shows mercy and grants us peace.  So why does He do this, if we are so undeserving?  It's not like he doesn't see the sin in us.  He's not oblivious to our nonsense.  He's not looking the other way.  He sees right through us.  He knows us, our good and our bad.  He sees beyond our imperfections, and He chooses to see our potential.  Better yet, He sees His one and only Son's sacrifice for us.  That is His ultimate motivation to love us.  It's not because we are behaving or because we are in any way deserving.  He loves us because His Son died for us.  He loves us because He sees His Son's blood covering up our ugly estate.  He loves us because He is wired to do so, and we are His!

*Luke 15:11-32

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