Entitlement: A Hindrance to Patience
Waiting Journal, November 15, 2020
Genesis 34 is probably one of my least favorite chapters in the Bible. It deals with rape, which is never an easy topic to discuss. Rape is awful. It leaves a woman feeling vulnerable and full of shame. It is truly a wretched and wicked act.
Genesis 34 tells of Dinah’s rape: “When the local prince, Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, saw Dinah, he seized her and raped her. But then he fell in love with her, and he tried to win her affection with tender words. He said to his father, Hamor, ‘Get me this young girl. I want to marry her”’ (Genesis 34:2-4). Shechem saw Dinah and wanted her, but he was unwilling to wait to satisfy that desire. He wanted her, so he took her and did what he wanted with her.
Shechem was a prince. Perhaps he was a bit spoiled. It seems by his behavior and manner of speaking, that he was extremely selfish and quite entitled. After he raped her, he then realized that he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. He went to daddy and demanded that he make it happen. It seems that he was used to getting his way, to getting what he wanted. He felt that he deserved it and was therefore entitled to have it. This is an extremely dangerous mentality. When we are so consumed with satisfying our desires and getting what we want and feel that we deserve, we lose sight of everybody else around us. We take on the mentality of “whatever it takes,” regardless of who we hurt in the process.
Shechem’s actions hurt many in the process. Dinah was violated, her brothers let their rage dictate their actions, relationships were severed, reputations were ruined, and all of the men of Hamor’s town were slaughtered and their wives and children were taken captive. Shechem’s single act of refusing to wait for the sanctity of marriage to sleep with Dinah resulted in pain, deceit, murder, and captivity.
Sometimes we fail to see that the consequences of our sin extend beyond ourselves or even beyond those directly involved in the sin. We don’t consider who might be affected by our choices, we only think about immediately satisfying the cravings of our flesh. This becomes even more dangerous when we think we deserve it, because then we take it by force without any regard for others. Throughout the entire account, we see no evidence of remorse or repentance from Shechem. Instead, he just continues to plow forward in his pursuit of Dinah.
When we adopt an entitlement mentality, we are usually unwilling to wait. “I want it now and I deserve to be happy.” So, we throw morality out the window and disregard the Lord’s commandments because they impede our happiness. This is so dangerous because our actions don’t just affect us, they affect those around us, especially those closest to us. This “I deserve to be happy” mantra breeds sin. We will get what we want, no matter what it takes, no matter the consequences of our actions. Pride and selfishness lie at the root.
When we use the idea of our own personal happiness as the foundation for our decision making, morality begins to crumble. It is no longer about what is right or wrong, but only about what makes me happy and what I believe to be right for me. We begin to redefine truth and start believing that sin will satisfy the longing of our hearts. We doubt the truth of God’s Word and refuse to believe Him when He says that those things (sin) will only steal, kill, and destroy. We think our way is better than His, so we choose to ignore Him and do what we want.
The bible says that Satan comes as an angel of light. Sin doesn’t appear to be harmful, or destructive, or empty initially. It does offer temporary satisfaction. It can be appealing. Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t choose it. You see, Satan has disguised sin, given it a proper make-over, so that when we look upon it, we see something desirable. It is as if he has dressed up a corpse in a beautiful, white wedding dress, covered her pale and decaying flesh in expensive creams, ointments, and make-up and hidden the stench of rotting meat with elegant perfumes. What we see is enticing and pleases the senses; so, we chase after it, failing to acknowledge that she is actually dead. This is the deceitfulness of sin: it promises satisfaction, but in the end, it only delivers death.
Don’t let the cry for your happiness be the compass by which you live your life. Don’t allow this entitlement mentality take hold. Everything in our world is telling us to live for ourselves; to be self-absorbed, self-consumed, self-centered. However, this life isn’t about us or our happiness, it’s about God’s glory. The ironic part is that when we begin to live for Him and to find our identity in the One who made us, that’s when we truly discover who we are, who we weren’t meant to be. That’s when we find ourselves and experience true happiness (joy) that will never be shaken by circumstances.
Learn from Shechem’s mistake. Trust the Lord and be obedient to His Word. Don’t allow the enemy to deceive you with empty promises. Don’t adopt an entitlement mentality. Don’t plow forward in search of your own happiness at the expense of others. Don’t compromise truth because you want to believe Satan’s lie that your way is better than the Lord’s.
Once we finally choose to believe and trust what God has said, we will no longer demand our own way. We won’t take what we want by force. Instead, we will be willing to wait upon the Lord and be obedient to the way He has called us to behave. Why? Because we'll recognize that we don’t need anything besides the Lord. All else is simply a bonus, an added blessing, not a necessity. So if we have the thing we want, wonderful. If not, it’s ok because we always have Christ and only He could ever truly satisfy the longing of our hearts.
Let go of your sense of entitlement; because, in reality, the only thing that we deserve is hell. We are not entitled to anything else. We have fallen short of God’s standard, we have broken His law, so we must suffer the consequence of our sin. However, even in light of those things, God made a way for us to escape the fate that we deserve and instead, through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, offered us life and a promise of eternity that we did nothing to earn. Quit looking for ways to get what you want, to satisfy your cravings, and find your true delight in the Lover of your soul. In His presence is FULLNESS of joy.