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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)

By Kate Oliver Webb


It is not a new situation, this thing we humans struggle with. It goes by many names; it lurks in our hearts; it is at the root of evil thoughts, actions, discontent, anger—and all the physical, emotional and spiritual heartache and scarring that is a part of virtually every person’s life.

In a few simple words, it is: What’s In It — For Me?

Our political climate these days has proven that this sickness has grown, and it has become immune to nearly every effort to wipe it out.

Our government now relies heavily on the word “Entitlement” when discussing social issues. It used to be called a “handout.” And it used to be shameful.

So…in order take away the shame, to make it palatable, we have to find a new, painless word for it. And new, painless ways to deal with it.

Painless? I don’t think so.

What governments are trying to do is “correct” something which God has always had control over. That is the perceived “fairness” of life. Some are born beautiful, others not. Some are born with physical and mental challenges; others never experience that pain. Some just land in our world with wealth, refinement and innate intelligence; many others struggle from their first breath just to survive.

Earlier generations seemed to have had a handle on it that we in our modern, have-everything, know-everything, be-everything, win-everything world know nothing of. Those in leadership positions attempt to right the “wrongs” they feel were inflicted by God by teaching that those on the negative side of the equation, simply because of where they were when they arrived on our planet, are deserving—entitled—to what the “haves” have.

I asked one woman, who works with college students, what her biggest problem with the word “Entitlement” is, and she replied: “The youth feel ‘entitled’ to have everything they get, to have everything served to them on a silver platter. They feel slighted when they don’t get what they want, and they want it the easy way.” 1

However, there is a flip side.

There are those who, because of their own efforts, do what is required of them to make a place in this world for themselves and their families—and yet tragedy befalls. They honestly deserve assistance. The widow of a Navy man spoke emotionally of this.

Jesus Himself said “the poor you always have with you,” and He continued, “and you can help them any time you want.” (Mark 14:7)

In Deuteronomy 15 God tells the Israelites how to treat those in need: “Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart…. There will always be poor people…be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.”

Of course this can—and has been—twisted, stretched, and mangled beyond belief, until we are now told we must “distribute the wealth” because those without are “entitled” to have.

Another friend I spoke with commented, “There are people who spend all their waking hours trying to make right what God already has under control. He could have made a bunch of completely equal robots, but that wasn’t His desire or purpose.”

People who have been drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit, and have made Him Lord of their lives, find it much easier to accept what cannot be changed. They know that God is in charge, and He will, in His time, sort out what seems to us—from our perspective—to be unfair. 2

What Christians are learning, as well, is that His instruction on how to handle the challenges life gives us is always the difference between peace, and lack of it. That includes dealing with our attitudes and expectations, thinking on good things rather than complaining.

God graciously provided us with His laws of nutrition, cleanliness, family-centeredness, management of assets, and Godly instruction. They are as sure as the law of gravity. Obeying them, we will then be in a position to bless those in need, as we are directed by God—not by our government.

How do we handle our leaders’ position on entitlements? Again, Scripture provides the answers: first, pray. Then get involved with every government issue that would tear down God’s kingdom and prevent His knowledge from being disseminated.

And as always, share the light, love and LIFE of Jesus whenever, wherever, and however you can.

1 Jacquelyn Mesecher, Administrative Assistant
2 Linda Borgmier Norris, on Facebook; used by permission

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Member Comments
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Sunny Loomis 04/27/11
Interesting take on the topic. I've even heard someone saying that gravity doesn't exist. Thank you.
Anita van der Elst04/27/11
A bump in the flow for me came with this sentence: “The widow of a Navy man spoke emotionally of this.” I expected there to be a quote from her. And I think it would’ve been okay to refer by name to those you quoted within the article rather than footnote them. Overall I think it’s a well-written article. Thank you for sharing it with us.