Suffering from the effects of entitlement

By Dave Henning / August 11, 2018

“We suffer from the effects of entitlement.  If I think long enough about something I really want, my mind can convince itself that I deserve to have it, that somehow my rights have been violated if I do not have it.”- John Ortberg

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.”- Jeremiah 9:24 (ESV)

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 17 of When the Game is Over as he talks about the last two ways we buy into the myth of more.

2.  Abundance denial.  As Pastor Ortberg wryly observes, we suffer from an apparently limitless capacity to take former “wants” and turn them into “needs.”  Social theorist Greg Easterbrook calls this living in abundance denial.  As a result, millions of people consider themselves materially deprived.  To establish and defend this position, they construct elaborate mental rationales.  However, in so doing, such people only succeed in  increasing their unhappiness.

In one Gallup poll, respondents considered 21 percent of Americans rich.  Yet, only 0.5 percent thought of themselves as rich.  Evidently, John quips, everybody believes he or she needs one thing to make him or herself rich: more.

3.  Reference anxiety.  More familiarly, we refer to this phenomenon as “keeping up with the Joneses.”  Thus, it doesn’t cross our minds whether or not our homes and cars meet our needs.  Rather, we ask if they are nicer than our neighbors’ things.  And we work like crazy to acquire better things.  But, John asks, what do you do when your neighbors refinance?

Today’s question: Do you ever suffer from the effects of entitlement?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Called to contentment”

About the author

Dave Henning

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