|Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan|
"Entitlement" is "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).
Townsend says there are two negative fruits of entitlement. The first is: An attitude of entitlement will limit your goals. Entitlement thinking misconstrues the goal of life to be "happiness." Like: "I want to be happy, that's all." Entitlement people view the highest good in life as being a happy person. This, writes Townsend, "is one of the worst endgame goals we can have." (66)
"People who have happiness as their goal get locked into the pain/ pleasure motivation cycle. They never do what causes them pain, but always do what brings them pleasure. This puts us on the same thinking level as a child, who has difficulty seeing past his or her fear of pain and love of pleasure." (Ib.)
The root of this idea developed in the soil of Jeremy Bentham's utilitarianism (see William Davies, The Happiness Industry). This is secularism's incoherent substitute for objective moral values.
"There is nothing wrong with happiness. But in a healthy life, happiness comes as a by-product of doing what you love, having purpose, and giving back. You don’t give your talents so that you’ll be happy; you give them because you care and you want to make a difference. Then you feel happy. Happiness is a by-product to enjoy, not a dream to seize." (Townsend, pp. 66-67)
The second negative fruit of entitlement is: "it freezes development." God made us to discover and develop a variety of abilities and passions. But "entitlement influences us to stay right where we are. It keeps us from growing, learning, challenging ourselves, or trying new things. It whispers to us, “That sounds really hard and it doesn’t look like it’s worth it.”" (Ib., 67)
This voice will put us to sleep. "We might become couch potatoes, video addicts, chronic partiers, or simply get in a rut and routine that becomes boring and deadening." (Ib.)
When we understand who we are and what we are here for, and then live out of our true identity and God's purposes for us, we will experience joy as a fruit, as a wonderful byproduct of the Spirit in us.