Hands reaching

An entitlement mentality says, “You owe me!” It encourages me to demand that you do something for me, give me something, or treat me in a uniquely special way – just because. And I have no particular responsibility in return. And sometimes there can be an entitlement mentality in church.

Our Western culture has incorporated an entitlement mentality into much of our lifestyle. This mindset honestly believes that “they” owe me an education, health care, a job, a comfortable home, and just about anything else I want. Social programs abound and enormous amounts of tax money are spent to bolster people’s quality of life without requiring anything of significance from the recipients.

Yes, that’s probably an oversimplification. And I’m not going to comment on the politics or social policy involved. But I DO want to talk about how this entitlement mentality displays itself in the Christian community.

I had a classmate in graduate school whose story highlighted this for me. She grew up in Communist Romania, where Christianity was outlawed and one could be jailed for attending Christian services. Her best friend betrayed their small Christian group to the authorities, and she (and others) suffered greatly. Years later, in America, she was often amazed and even ashamed at how little value many Christians seemed to place on their freedom, and their almost bored attitude toward their faith. Where she grew up it meant something to be a Christian! Does it mean anything to those of us who have it comparatively easy?

The entitlement mentality can show up in church when we feel “It’s all about me!”

  • What blessings will Bible study (or prayer, or any other activity) bring me?
  • Why doesn’t the pastor (or other leaders) pay more attention to me?
  • I don’t like the music (or anything else) so I’ll just stay away.
  • How can I get God to do what I need Him to do for me?

Remember the famous quote from President Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask  what can you do for your country!”

Perhaps we need to ask less of “What can my pastor do for me? What can the church do for me? What can God do for me?”

Instead, what would happen if we asked, “What can I do for my fellow believers? What can I do for God?”

God has this amazing idea that church is about Him! What if we agreed with Him?

Your Turn: Do you agree that an entitlement mentality is present in much of Christianity? Why do you think that is? What should we do about it? Leave a comment below.

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