Sunday, October 18, 2015

Entitlement People Find Eternal Separation From God Reprehensible

Wild daisy, Green Lake, Wisconsin
This morning at Redeemer I preached out of Revelation 14:6-13 - on judgment and eternal separation from God. I shared that one reason people (even some Christians) find these verses difficult and unfair on behalf of God is entitlement.

John Townsend, in his excellent new book The Entitlement Cure, defines "entitlement" as:  

"The belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment. Entitlement is: The man who thinks he is above all the rules. The woman who feels mistreated and needs others to make it up to her.”  (p. 19).

The characteristics of entitlement are:

1.   An attitude of being special.

2.   An attitude of being owed, of deserving something.

3.   A refusal to accept responsibility.

4.   A denial of one’s impact on others.

The less entitlement in a person, the more a cry for God’s mercy and grace.

          The less entitlement, the more compassion.

The more entitlement, the more the attitude of "I’m right and others are wrong; that I’m good and others are bad"; of "I’m deserving, others are undeserving.

The less entitlement, the more like the tax collector in Luke 18:11 who cried out “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

The less entitlement, the more one understands sin, its reality, and its consequences.

Townsend writes: “Whatever the cause of the sense of entitlement, the end result is that the person believes that he or she doesn’t have to play by the rules of responsibility, ownership, and commitment.” (21)

A person with "global entitlement" will find reprehensible any idea of a God who would allow people to suffer consequences of eternal separation from Him. 

The truth is that sin separates. Always. Sin separates us from other people, divides our inner self, and creates a relational breach between us and God. Such are the inexorable consequences of sin (or whatever word you want to use). The globally entitled person cannot see this. 

Is sin a real human condition? I like what G.K. Chesterton says here: Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology that can really be proved.