What’s Better Than an Entitlement Mentality or Punishment Mindset?

What’s Better Than an Entitlement Mentality or Punishment Mindset?

Parent and ChildContemporary Western Christianity, and society in general, struggles to remain free from two insidious evils. And when moving away from either one, it’s possible to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

On one hand is the idea that everyone’s out to get you. Your parents, teachers, the government, and even God are just looking for you to mess up. As long as you toe the line perfectly you’re OK. But if you fail to live up to someone’s expectations you’re in trouble. Bad things that happen, such as sickness, poverty, or anything else undesirable, are your fault because you did something wrong. It’s the punishment mindset, and it is certain to wear you out.

The other extreme is no better. Nobody’s out to get you, but everyone owes you something. The rest of the world is primarily there for your benefit. If your life is uncomfortable or lacking in any way THEY are responsible. Your parents owe you an easy happy childhood. Your teachers owe you a good grade. The government owes you education, a job, and benefits. God owes you health and prosperity. The entitlement mentality is alive and well in our society and in the church, and it will end up seriously disappointing you.

In the Bible, Job’s friends displayed a combination of the punishment mindset and the entitlement mentality. When Job lost his livelihood, his children, and his health his friends were sure it was because Job had sinned:

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How to “Make Up” When You’ve Hurt Your Spouse

How to “Make Up” When You’ve Hurt Your Spouse

As uncomfortable as it may be, saying “I’m sorry” for a small thing to someone you may never see again really isn’t all that hard. The stakes are much higher when you’ve hurt the one you promised to love, honor, and cherish for the rest of your life. Making things right with your spouse is more difficult, but it’s a skill you’ll need to learn if you want a long and healthy marriage.

Unless you’re ready for translation, you and I each do things that hurt those closest to us. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake, completely without intention to cause harm. Other times we cause harm through carelessness or weakness, or because we’re hurting ourselves. And then there are times we know we’re doing something that will hurt him or her, but we do it anyway.

In the end what matters is that you caused them pain. Ouch! It’s easy to get defensive and try to explain away what you did, but that only drives you farther apart. If you want your marriage to survive you need to do everything possible on your end to repair the relationship. It starts with you.

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The Enormous Power of “I Don’t Care!”

The Enormous Power of “I Don’t Care!”

I Don't CareNext to “No” the most powerful sentence in the English language is “I don’t care.” It makes you downright dangerous!

Caring about someone, loving them, makes you vulnerable. And that’s a good thing. There will only be a few people around your death bed, and those people deserve your best. It’s worth sleepless nights, depleting your bank account, “wasted” time, forgiveness, and spending all the energy you have to invest in the few close relationships that matter most. About the people closest to me I DO care!

But just about everything else is small stuff. And if you care too much about the small stuff your resulting vulnerability will open you to people, circumstances, and decisions that will deplete you, harm you, and potentially destroy you.

  • If you care too much about what the critics say you’ll never say or do the things that will help those who can benefit most from your work.
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How to Prevent Weight Gain After Forty

How to Prevent Weight Gain After Forty

HELP on ScalesLove handles around the middle? Afraid to step on the scales? Putting on extra pounds is not just unpleasant; it’s also a danger to your health. It’s especially important to prevent weight gain after forty.

Weight gain after menopause increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Most of this mid-life weight gain settles around the middle, and it’s that abdominal fat that is especially dangerous, at least as far as your health is concerned. Becoming unhealthy as one gets older is unfortunately what the majority of women experience.

Is it menopause? Nearly 90% of women put on extra pounds between 45 and 55. The decrease in estrogen and other ovarian hormones at menopause would seem to be a likely culprit. If that were the case, wouldn’t taking estrogen or other hormone therapy help with that weight gain?

If only it were that simple! Research shows that women who take estrogen therapy at menopause and those who don’t gain about the same amount of weight. Hormone therapy makes no significant difference. But what we do know is that the drop in estrogen changes the distribution of fat in your body. Whether or not you gain pounds, menopause tends to move fat from your hips to your abdomen.

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Marks on Your Spiritual Wall: Growing in Grace

Marks on Your Spiritual Wall: Growing in Grace

Mom measuring boysIf you were to walk into the home where our oldest grandson lives, you’d see a wall with lots of pencil marks on it. Beside each mark Mommy or Daddy has written a date. Andrew loves to look at the wall to see how much taller he has become every few months. And he loves to point out that fact to his proud grandparents as well.

Looking back at how much I’d grown was one of the most encouraging things to me during the early part of my Christian walk. God is the only One whose evaluation ultimately matters. But He has told us a lot about how much He wants us to grow, and what that looks like.

So how are you growing in grace? Where are your “marks on the wall”?

You go to church—or don’t. You have a Bible on the table and read it—sometimes. You pray—more than most, but not as much as some. Your coworkers know you’re a Christian and don’t seem to care too much. You don’t look or sound anything like Sally SuperChristian, but that’s just not your personality. You believe God is real, but there are moments when you struggle with doubts about certain things.

Do any of those things really matter? If you’re certain of Jesus as your Savior, what kind of difference should that be making in your life now? Do you have to be “super-Christian” to be successful?

When it comes to our relationship with God, checklists can be a little dangerous. He deals with each of us individually, and sometimes in very unique ways. But a spiritual checkup can help you put some “marks on the wall.”

Here are a few evaluation points to check:

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